The term checkmate is, according to the Barnhart Etymological Dictionary, an alteration of the Persian phrase "shāh māt" which means, literally, "the King is helpless".
Checkmate is a game position in chess in which a player's king is in check (threatened with capture) and there is no way to remove the threat. Checkmating the opponent wins the game.
In chess the king is never captured – the game ends as soon as the king is checkmated. In formal games, most players resign an inevitably lost game before being checkmated. It is usually considered bad etiquette to continue playing in a completely hopeless position