in check

Idioms & Phrases

in check

Restrained from moving or acting; under control. For example, The first division held the enemy in check, or Mary kept her emotions in check. This term replaced at check and out of check, which date from the mid-1500s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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