Chock-full

The word meaning full to the limit is chock-full. It is commonly misspelled chalk-full, probably due to the close similarity in sound between chock and chalk especially in American pronunciation. Chock-full‘s origins are mysterious, though there are many theories that we won’t go into here. There is usually a hyphen between chock and full, though you’ll often see the term with a space instead of a hyphen.

Here are a few examples of chock-full used well:

This Blu-ray is chock-full of extras, and they’re worth digging into. [Hollywood.com]

Today, that mine, chock-full of so-called rare-earth metals, is responsible for one of the fastest windfalls in private-equity history. [Wall Street Journal]

But really, the collection (from Versace’s secondary line) was chock-full of pieces that would find favor on the red carpet any day of the week. [Los Angeles Times]

For some reason, it’s quite common for writers who use this phrase to follow it with o’—for example:

Meanwhile, the internet is chock full o’ rumors that the Yankees are about to make a trade for a starter. [Boston Globe]

We don’t know where this comes from. We welcome ideas.

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