Check You: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 19, 2023

The idiom "check you" is often heard in casual conversations, especially among friends. It's typically used to express surprise or admiration for someone's appearance, achievements, or attitude. When someone says " check you," they usually compliment you.

In short:

"Check you" is an idiom used to express surprise or admiration, often concerning someone's appearance, achievement, or attitude.

What Does "Check You" Mean?

"Check you" is an idiomatic expression commonly used in informal conversations. It typically carries a confrontational tone and can be interpreted in different ways depending on the context. A hint of surprise can sometimes accompany the use of this idiom, as it often arises when a person exceeds expectations or norms in a given situation.

  • Assertiveness: It asserts dominance or criticizes someone's behavior.
  • Awareness: It prompts self-reflection and self-awareness.
  • Variations: "Check yourself" and "Check it" convey the same message.
  • Related Expressions: Similar expressions include "call out," "put in check," or simply saying "check."

Where Does "Check You" Come From?

The idiom "check you" is believed to have originated in American English. It is commonly used as a slang phrase, primarily in informal conversations. The phrase "check you" is an imperative statement that means to take a moment to reflect on one's behavior, actions, or attitude.

Historical Example

"I reckon it's about time for you to check yourself before you wreck yourself."

-Mark Twain, 1880

10 Examples of "Check You" in Sentences

Let's consider some examples to understand the usage of this idiom:

  • Make sure you're ready for the meeting at a quarter to four, and also check you before you leave to ensure everything is in order.
  • Check you, becoming the top scorer in the class!
  • I saw your latest painting, and I must say, check you! It's fantastic.
  • I've got a tried and tested method to check you on your knowledge.
  • Check you out, setting new records on the track.
  • You've really outdone yourself with this project. Check you!
  • After watching his friend's impressive skateboard trick, Mike cheered, "check you, pulling off that stunt.
  • Alright, check you later, and til next time, keep shining!"
  • So, you've baked all these cookies yourself? Check you!
  • I have a suggestion, check you before you wreck yourself, and don't trick him into doing something he'll regret.

Examples of "Check You" in Pop Culture

This idiom has found its way into various aspects of pop culture:

  • In the TV show "Friends," when Ross brags about his new promotion, Chandler responds sarcastically, "Oh, check you out, Mr. Fancy Pants!"
  • In the movie "Mean Girls," Regina George mocks Gretchen by saying, "Oh, look who's suddenly Miss Popular! Check you and your new clique."
  • In a rap battle scene from the movie "8 Mile," one rapper taunts his opponent by saying, "You think you're so tough? Check you before I wreck you!"
  • In the song "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift, she sings about an ex-friend with lyrics like, "Did you think we'd be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife. So don't think it's in the past; these kinds of wounds last, and they last. Now check you for once!"
  • In an episode of the TV show "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Detective Jake Peralta jokingly says to Captain Holt after solving a difficult case, "Wow, Captain Holt, flex those deductive skills! Check you being all Sherlock Holmes!"
  • In the sitcom "The Office," Jim playfully teases Dwight by saying, "Whoa Dwight, look at you being all productive today. Check you get things done!"
  • In the movie "Legally Blonde," when Elle Woods proves her legal expertise during a trial, her former classmates exclaim in surprise and admiration, "Check you, Elle! She knows what she's talking about!"

Other Ways to Say "Check You" in Sentences

Some other ways convey the same meaning as "check You."

Some of these include:

  • Take the initiative and check yourself before you wreck yourself.
  • Aren't you something!
  • Wow, you've outdone yourself.
  • Check yourself and get over it.
  • You're really going places.
  • Well, look who's on top of their game.
  • You're really showing off, aren't you?
  • Aren't you the star of the show?
  • Smooth move Ex Lax! Double-check yourself before you wreck yourself
  • You're really making waves.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Check You"

  • What does "check you" mean?

"Check you" is an idiom that expresses surprise or admiration, often about someone's appearance, achievement, or attitude.

  • Where does "check you" come from?

The phrase "check you" is rooted in everyday, colloquial speech and is often used in informal, friendly exchanges. Its precise origin is hard to trace.

  • Is "check you" used only to compliment appearance?

No, while "check you" is often used to compliment someone's appearance, it can also be used to express admiration for someone's achievements or attitude.

  • Is "check you" formal or informal?

The idiom "check you" is generally considered informal and is often used in casual conversation or friendly exchanges.

  • Can "check you" be used sarcastically?

Like many idioms, "check you" can be used sarcastically, depending on the tone and context of the conversation.

  • How can I use "check you" in a sentence?

You can use "check you" to express admiration or surprise. For example, "check you, getting all the answers right!" or "check you, looking like a model in that dress!"

  • Can "check you" be offensive?

Generally, "check you" is not considered offensive. It is usually used as a compliment or expression of admiration. However, like any idiom, its appropriateness can depend on the context and the relationship between the speakers.

  • Is "check you" used globally?

"Check you" is widely understood in English-speaking regions, although its use might be more prevalent in certain dialects and cultural contexts.

  • Is "check you" used in literature?

"Check You" is more commonly found in spoken English, casual writing, and pop culture, rather than formal literature.

  • Are there variations of "check you"?

Yes, there can be variations like "check you out" or "check you, doing XYZ," where XYZ is a specific achievement or aspect being complimented.

Final Thoughts About "Check You"

The idiom "check you" is a versatile and expressive part of the English language. It allows the speaker to convey admiration, surprise, and approval in a casual, friendly manner. Although it's more common in informal speech, this idiom has permeated various aspects of pop culture, making it a recognizable and popular phrase.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "check you" is typically used as a compliment or expression of admiration.
  • The phrase can refer to someone's appearance, achievements, or attitude.
  • Despite its ambiguity in origin, "check you" has become widely recognized and used in English-speaking cultures.

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