I am a student of Arabic and love coming across Arabic words and phrases that have migrated to English. One of my favorites is the phrase “Checkmate.” Playing chess (the few times that I did), I never knew what the phrase meant, but I didn’t think much of it. That changed when an Arabic professor asked our class what the words Check and Mate sounded like in Arabic. Well, come to think of it, they sound like Sheikh and Mat, which translate to King and Dead or The King is Dead

For those interested in chess, I’ve linked to a great podcast on how an incarcerated teenager used chess to reconnect with a teacher and the outside world.


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