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[eks-chek-er, iks-chek-er] /ˈɛks tʃɛk ər, ɪksˈtʃɛk ər/
a treasury, as of a state or nation.
  1. (often initial capital letter) the governmental department in charge of the public revenues.
  2. (formerly) an office administering the royal revenues and determining all cases affecting them.
  3. (initial capital letter). Also called Court of Exchequer. an ancient common-law court of civil jurisdiction in which cases affecting the revenues of the crown were tried, now merged in the King's Bench Division of the High Court.
Informal. one's financial resources; funds:
I'd love to go, but the exchequer is a bit low.
1250-1300; Middle English escheker, eschequier < Anglo-French escheker, eschekier (Old French eschequier) chessboard, counting table. See checker1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for exchequer
  • It extends also to everything regarding the management of the exchequer, and the expenses of public administration.
  • Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou dost, and do it with unwashed hands too.
  • But tens of thousands of youngsters have been denied the chance because the exchequer cannot afford it.
  • The lecture was cancelled when the chancellor of the exchequer decided that this was too much excitement for one day.
  • In power, the chancellor of the exchequer has often found it a handy way to get bad news out of the way before the spring budget.
  • But the longer-run trend looks bad for the exchequer.
British Dictionary definitions for exchequer


(often capital) (government) (in Britain and certain other countries) the accounting department of the Treasury, responsible for receiving and issuing funds
(informal) personal funds; finances
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: chessboard, counting table): from Old French eschequier, from escheccheck


Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exchequer

c.1300, from Anglo-French escheker "a chessboard," from Old French eschequier, from Medieval Latin scaccarium "chess board" (see check (n.1); also cf. checker (n.2)).

Government financial sense began under the Norman kings of England and refers to a cloth divided in squares that covered a table on which accounts of revenue were reckoned with counters, and which apparently reminded people of a chess board. Respelled with an -x- based on the mistaken belief that it originally was a Latin ex- word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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