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c. 1300, in chess, "a call noting one's move has placed his opponent's king (or another major piece) in immediate peril," from Old French eschequier "a check at chess" (also "chess board, chess set"), from eschec "the game of chess; chessboard; check; checkmate," from Vulgar Latin *scaccus, from Arabic shah, from Persian shah "king," the principal piece in a chess game (see shah; also compare checkmate (n.)). Also c. 1300 in a generalized sense, "harmful incident or event, hostile environment."


"the slayer of the bull in a bull-fight," 1670s, from Spanish matador, literally "killer," from matar "to kill," which is of uncertain origin. Probably from Latin mactāre "to kill," originally "to honor by sacrifice," but this presents phonetic difficulties: "the regular evolution of this Latin base would have yielded *meitar in Portuguese and *mechar in Spanish" [Eva Núñez Méndez, "Diachronic Applications in Hispanic Linguistics"]. The alternative might be Arabic mata "he died," from Persian (see second element in checkmate). Fem. form is matadora.

checkmate is our take on the beloved buffalo check pattern (or, for traditionalists, plaid). this motif is a slice of americana that has been au courant for decades. if your space needs a touch of simple nostalgia, checkmate is the perfect plaid solution for wall or floor.

The Persian word for chess, shatranj, was probably derived from the Sanskrit chaturanga, the name of a chesslike game that was played on an eight-by-eight board (modern chaturanga is played on a twelve-by-twelve board). The terminology of modern chess has Persian etymological roots: the Persian word rukh ("rook") means chariot; the term shah mat ("checkmate") means, literally, "the king is frozen"). The poet Firdausi, responsible for versifying the Persian epic poem, the Shahnama, discussed the game and its origins in the epic. He mentions that chess arrived from the land of Hind (India). Illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnama from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries include paintings showing the envoy from Hind and the Persian counselor Buzurgmihr playing chess. It mentions that chess pieces were made of ivory and teakwood, both of which were easily obtained in India. Curiously, however, no early chess pieces have been unearthed in India. 041b061a72

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