Make Your Editor Cry: Chalk Full vs. Chock-Full

Make Your Editor Cry:  Chalk Full vs. Chock-Full

People of a certain age remember chalkboards. Today, you may have a passing familiarity with sidewalk chalk. Regardless, chalk full (or chalk-full) is not a thing.

Here is the actual etymology of this idiom. In modern day Britain, “cheek” describes behavior or talk that is disrespectful or rude.


My shift lead told me off for being two minutes late when he arrived half an hour after me. What a cheek!

The word “chock” is an Old English word that means “cheek” as well as “full to the brim.” In other words, “chock-full” means a “mouthful.”

The correct phrase is “chock-full.”


The classroom was chalk-full of students.


We stayed with friends because the hotels were chock-full of tourists that weekend.

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