I know there is a related question asked here. But its slightly different than it and seeking more information.

I live in India, I have been to America couple of times. In my first trip it was surprising to see people asking for "check" instead of "bill". I have been told by my friend that here (in America) they call it "check". I assumed may be it arosed from "check-out".

After some days another friend told me that it's "cheque", not "check" and he elaborated that just like how a banker pays money in return of cheque.

After reading few answers/question and links given in the relative question, I really made a conclusion that which one is correct to use because I doubt only one has to be correct and remaining evolved by misinterpretation because "check" and "cheque" sound the same?

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    AFAIK cheque is the British spelling and check is the American spelling – Armen Ծիրունյան Feb 7 '12 at 10:30
  • thats why I was wondering why the red lines under "cheque" (spell checker didnt know I was typing UK english lol), and there is no solid historical proof to make a conclusion – Inglish Feb 7 '12 at 11:03
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    In America, when you go to a bank, you can cash a "check", not a "cheque". Whether it's like that because two words sounded the same or because Americans spell it differently is sort of besides the point. When you ask for the "check" at a restaurant, you're basically playing the role of the banker for the waiters; they bring you a check, and you cash it. – Patrick87 Feb 7 '12 at 16:14
  • Can't link to a comment, so copy/paste: "It's one of the definitions of check: 25. a slip or ticket showing the amount owed, especially a bill for food or beverages consumed. – Daniel δ Oct 25 '11 at 13:36" – yoozer8 Feb 13 '12 at 19:30

Cheque is the British spelling for the banking thing. It is not used in Britain or Australia for restaurants. There you would say "bill" or "account".


There is no difference between check and checque. Both are pronounced identically, as /tʃɛk/. The difference between the usage in a restaurant and in a bank is usually distinguished by the articles used.

In a restaurant, (unless you're writing your request to the waiter, which seems unlikely)
you ask for /ðə'tʃɛk/ (note the definite article the).

In a bank, however, you cash /ə'tʃɛk/ (note indefinite article a).

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    I know you tried to explain using /tʃɛk/ /ðə'tʃɛk/ /ə'tʃɛk/ but I dont know how to read them :) – Inglish Feb 14 '12 at 6:22
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    Look up Kenyon and Knott, or International Phonetic Alphabet, or read the instructions in your bilingual dictionary. Or, if you're American, try Good Night Moon. – John Lawler Feb 14 '12 at 13:54

At restaurants in America, you ask for the "check", not the "bill". Whatever the etymology, that's American usage.

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    It's perfectly legit to ask for your "bill" or "tab", though "check" is the more common term. – Hot Licks Jan 24 '16 at 14:45

Its 'Check' not 'Cheque'.... check word also means 'stop or slow the progress of' (something, typically something undesirable). for eg: "efforts were made to check the disease" Here, we let waiter know that we are done with our food and he can proceed to the next step

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    That is not what "check please" means in this case. – Matt E. Эллен Feb 11 '14 at 20:57
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    That sounds like your (or somebody's) conjecture about the origin of that meaning, and unless you can produce a reliable source for it, I would discount the suggestion. – Colin Fine Feb 12 '14 at 0:33

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