Definition for CHESS

CHESS, n.2 [I do not find this word in any English dictionary; nor do I know its origin or affinities. In Persian, خَّسْ chas or gas, signifies evil, depraved, and a useless weed.]

In New England, the Bromus Secalinus, a grass which grows among wheat, and is supposed to be wheat degenerated or changed, as it abounds most in fields where the wheat is winter-killed. It bears some resemblance to oats. This fact is mentioned by Pliny, Nat. Hist lib. 18, ca. 17. “Primum omnium frumenti vitium avena est; et hordeum in eam degenerat.” This change of wheat and barley into oats, he ascribes to a moist soil, wet weather, bad seed, &c. This opinion coincides with observations in America, as wheat is most liable to perish in moist land, and often in such places, almost all the wheat is killed, and instead of it chess often appears. But this change of wheat into chess is now denied, and the common opinion is affirmed, by the ablest botanists, to be erroneous.

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