Being in an uncomfortable or awkward situation that you want to leave.
Example: Frank was at his friend’s house having dinner with him and his wife. Half-way through the meal, they started arguing and Frank was caught in the middle of it. This was an uncomfortable situation for him to be in. As the couple bickered back and forth, Frank thought to himself: “check, please.”
In other words, Frank wanted to leave that awkward situation.
The Origin Of ‘Check, Please’
The phrase “check, please” is something you often hear at restaurants, and you probably have even said it before yourself while being inside one. Thus, while the origin of the phrase isn’t clear, it seems very likely that it originates from restaurants or eateries because after eating, it’s common for people to ask for their bill by saying “check, please.” This request means they are done with their food and they’d like to pay and leave. This is similar to the phrase’s idiomatic meaning.
Anways, this phrase goes back to at least the early 20th century. For example, there’s a part in The Australian Town and Country Journal newspaper, May 1905, that reads:
“‘Will you give me my check, please?’ The sound of her voice, breaking upon his ear, aroused Charteris from his reverie. He looked up quickly, and saw that she was speaking to the waitress. It was a common-place enough remark, but the weariness of her tone did not escape him.“
So… when did this phrase start to be used as an idiom? Well, it’s tough to say. I’m having difficulty finding a quote using it in such a way, but if I find one, I’ll update this page and let you know.
- I was watching a movie at the theater with a friend, but it was so bad I leaned over and whispered “check, please” in his ear because I wanted to leave.
Note: Hello. Did you know the origin of many popular sayings are unknown? It’s true, and in cases where it happens, what you might see mentioned on the page are theories that try to explain how a phrase originated.
However, if no theories exist, you can still (typically) find the earliest known appearance of the phrase in print. These quotes can give you an idea on how old it is.