July 11, 2013
- chess (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a game for two players each of whom plays with 16 pieces on a checkerboard
- How do you use it?
- The game of chess originated in India in the 6th century and spread to the Middle East and Europe by the 10th century.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Chess" is a very old word naming a very old game. In which language do you think the word "chess" has roots?We trace the origins of the word "chess" to the Persian word "shah" meaning "king." "Shah" was adopted by speakers of Anglo-French to form "eschec." They used "eschec" to refer to the situation called a "check" in chess which occurs when a player's king can be captured on the opponent's next turn and must be protected or moved. Middle English speakers adopted "eschec" to form the word "check" with the same meaning. The plural form "escheks" was also adopted into Middle English and became "chess." Incidentally, "checkmate," the word referring to the situation in which a player's king cannot escape traces to the Persian "shah mat" meaning literally, "the king is left unable to escape."