Check, Please

Meaning:

Being in an uncomfortable or awkward situation that you want to leave.

Example: Frank was over 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 Frank to be in. “Check, please,” he said to himself softly.

In other words, Frank wanted to leave this awkward situation.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
None.

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, I would say it likely originates from restaurants or eateries where, after eating, it’s common for people to ask for their bill by saying “check, please.” When they make that request, it means they are done with their food and would like to pay and leave.

This is similar to the idiomatic meaning, where someone in an awkward situation says it because they want to leave.

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.

Alright, but when did this phrase start to be used as an idiom? Well, I’m having difficulty finding a quote using it in such a way. So I’ve decided to come back at a later time to this phrase. I’ll update this page if I find anything.

Example Sentences:

  1. Nathan was waiting in line at the grocery store when a few people in front of him started to argue about something. “Check, please,” Nathan thought to himself as he became uncomfortable from the yelling.

Note: Hello, person reading this. Did you know that the origins for many popular sayings are unknown? Indeed, and in cases where this happens, what you might see mentioned on the page is a explanation or two about how a phrase may have originated.

If no explanations are included, then I’ll usually try to include the oldest known quote of an expression being used in writing. These quotes are to give you an idea on how old it is. Most of the time, these quotes come from books, newspapers, or poems.
 
Anyhow, thanks for dropping by.