- a treasury, as of a state or nation.
- (in Great Britain)
- (often initial capital letter)the governmental department in charge of the public revenues.
- (formerly) an office administering the royal revenues and determining all cases affecting them.
- (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.
- Informal. one’s financial resources; funds: I’d love to go, but the exchequer is a bit low.
- (often capital) government (in Britain and certain other countries) the accounting department of the Treasury, responsible for receiving and issuing funds
- informal personal funds; finances
c.1300, from Anglo-French escheker “a chessboard,” from Old French eschequier, from Medieval Latin scaccarium “chess board” (see (n.1); also cf. (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.