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Cheque or Check?


In the US, a bank cheque is spelt 'check'.  Is this just another case of the debasement (please excuse the monetary pun) of the English language by our colonial cousins?
  
Following on from an earlier post, check comes from the French word for chess - eschec.  In chess, when your opponent puts you in check, your options are limited.  Thus check began to mean a person who prevented things going wrong or a person who prevented dishonesty.

According to Forsyth in The Etymologicon,

 
“Bank checks were originally introduced as a replacement for promissory notes and got their name because they checked fraud........Bank checks started out being spelled with a -ck on both sides of the Atlantic.  But British people, perhaps under the influence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, decided to start calling them cheques.  This has a peculiar etymological result.  A blank cheque is a cheque with no check on it.”   

 

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