1. a treasury, as of a state or nation.
  2. (in Great Britain)
    1. (often initial capital letter)the governmental department in charge of the public revenues.
    2. (formerly) an office administering the royal revenues and determining all cases affecting them.
    3. (initial capital letter)Also called Court of Exchequer.an ancient common-law court of civil jurisdiction in which cases affecting the revenues of the crown were tried, now merged in the King’s Bench Division of the High Court.
  3. Informal. one’s financial resources; funds: I’d love to go, but the exchequer is a bit low.


  1. (often capital) government (in Britain and certain other countries) the accounting department of the Treasury, responsible for receiving and issuing funds
  2. informal personal funds; finances


  1. See Court of Exchequer

c.1300, from Anglo-French escheker “a chessboard,” from Old French eschequier, from Medieval Latin scaccarium “chess board” (see check (n.1); also cf. checker (n.2)).

Government financial sense began under the Norman kings of England and refers to a cloth divided in squares that covered a table on which accounts of revenue were reckoned with counters, and which apparently reminded people of a chess board. Respelled with an -x- based on the mistaken belief that it originally was a Latin ex- word.

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