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A chess game


Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French eschés, plural of eschec, from Vulgar Latin *scaccus, from Arabic شَاه ‎(šāh, king in chess), from Persian شاه ‎(šāh, shah, king), from Middle Persian 𐭬𐭫𐭪𐭠 ‎(šāh), from Old Persian 𐏋 ‎(xšāyaθiya). See check.


chess ‎(usually uncountable, plural chesses)

  1. A board game for two players with each beginning with sixteen chess pieces moving according to fixed rules across a chessboard with the objective to checkmate the opposing king.
Related terms[edit]
See also[edit]
Chess pieces in English · chess pieces, chessmen (see also: chess) (layout · text)
♟ ♞ ♝ ♜ ♛ ♚
pawn knight bishop castle, rook queen king

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin uncertain; perhaps linked to Etymology 1, above, from the sense of being arranged in rows or lines.


chess ‎(plural chesses)

  1. (now chiefly US) A type of grass, generally considered a weed.
    • 2007, Michael Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road, Sceptre 2008, p. 59:
      Hobbled, loudly gourmandizing the dry chess grass, they were guarded by a pair of dismounted soldiers in long, dusty coats [...].

Etymology 3[edit]

Compare French chassis ‎(a framework of carpentry).


chess ‎(plural chesses)

  1. (military, chiefly in the plural) One of the platforms, consisting of two or more planks dowelled together, for the flooring of a temporary military bridge.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wilhelm to this entry?)
    • Farrow
      Each chess consists of three planks.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.