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Chalk up vs. chock

Chalk up is an idiom which means to give credit to something or to attain something. It comes from the literal act in the 16th century of writing a debt that was owed to a store in chalk. Usually it is found in the phrase chalk it up to.

A chock is a wooden block used beneath wheels to prevent movement.

Chock-full means completely full. It is hyphenated as one word. Common misspellings are chockfull and chock full.


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And chock-a-block is an informal word meaning crammed to capacity. Used mainly outside the US. Though there is an Americanized spelling, chockablock, listed in the dictionary.

Examples

Chalk up a victory for the little guys with the Waitangi Tribunal findings that slammed the Crown for its actions over the Rena disaster. [New Zealand Herald]

The 27-year-old will this weekend chalk up 150 games for his beloved club when the Lions meet reigning premier Box Hill at Box Hill City Oval. [Herald Sun]

They can chalk that gain up to Twitter’s nearly 20% stock surge the day after it posted surprisingly strong earnings. [USA Today]

Chalk it up to the 21 professional artists who have no problem creating short-lived drawings on the pavement at Water Street Marketplace in New Paltz. [Times Herald Record]

Both are canyons chock-full of fantastically shaped hoodoos and rock walls, something like Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park. [Oregon Live]

This bin has been chock-a-block over several months. [Grantham Journal]

The banquet of a five-star hotel was chock a-block on the rainy evening this Sunday. [Times of India]

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Comments

  1. Elisson says:

    You’re the Grammarist, so you should probably avoid using sentence fragments such as “Used mainly outside the US. Though there is an Americanized spelling, chockablock, listed in the dictionary.”

    I’ve seen people use the expression “chock it up.” That’s a classic eggcorn – an expression that sounds right and is plausible, yet is incorrect.

    • I see nothing wrong with it, and I’m assuming the Grammarist agrees. It’s a description; an attribute. It’s not a sentence and it’s not meant to be.

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