Definition of chalk in English:

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Pronunciation: /CHôk/


1A soft white limestone (calcium carbonate) formed from the skeletal remains of sea creatures.
Example sentences
  • Calcium carbonate exists as whole mountain ranges of chalk, limestone, and marble.
  • Deposits of their skeletons produced much of the Mesozoic chalk and limestone.
  • It passes upwards into almost flat-lying white coccolith chalk with parallel lines of black flint nodules.
1.1A chalklike substance (calcium sulfate), made into white or colored sticks used for drawing or writing on a blackboard.
Example sentences
  • I turned quickly and grabbed a piece of chalk off the black board on one of the walls.
  • I knew white farmers whose idea of education for black children was a blackboard, a few sticks of chalk and a chair for an untrained teacher.
  • This exhibition features drawings in mixed media chalk, charcoal and graphite drawings on paper which have evolved from studies of the Achill landscape.
1.2 Geology A series of strata consisting mainly of chalk.
Example sentences
  • The coccolithophorids range in age from Triassic to Recent, and form a major constituent of Mesozoic and Tertiary chalks.
  • Pore-filling cementation is also common during the diagenesis of chalks, resulting in rapid porosity loss.
  • The cited examples are all interpreted as large-scale erosional scour-channels, variously associated with cemented hardgrounds, conglomeratic and nodular chalks, and debris.
2 short for French chalk.


[with object]
1Draw or write with chalk.
Example sentences
  • I have been drawing, painting and chalking since I was 2 years old.
  • My former student Eric reports that chalking sidewalks does seem to be illegal in New York.
  • Gerardo, a bespoke tailor from Naples with 52 years of experience in the trade, started chalking cloth again.
1.1Draw or write on (a surface) with chalk: blackboards chalked with Japanese phrases
More example sentences
  • To get the latest news, thousands would flock to the newspaper offices themselves, arrayed along Park Row near city hall, to watch the headlines get chalked up on giant blackboards.
  • The latest incarnation looks every part the French bistro, from the wooden floor and chairs and prints on the wall to the fresh flowers on the table and blackboards chalked up with dishes to tempt even the most iron-willed of dieters.
  • As a way of reminding and motivating students, you can see chalked on blackboards in most classrooms countdowns of the days to the examination and some encouraging words.
2Rub (something, especially a pool cue) with chalk.
Example sentences
  • Former world champion Steve Davis chalks his cue as the UK Snooker Championships got under way today at York's Barbican Centre.
  • Regulars at the Pattern Store Bar in Penzance Drive, Swindon are chalking their cues ready for the visit of the former World Champion snooker player on Wednesday, February 26.
  • But those of a literary bent were quick to realise the identity of the mystery guest, thoughtfully chalking his cue as he sought to get out of a snooker.
3British Charge (drinks bought in a bar) to a person’s account.



as different as (or like) chalk and cheese

British Fundamentally different or incompatible.
Example sentences
  • The pair were as different as chalk and cheese but between them they forged out 29 century opening stands - and Lumb would probably argue the number would have been much higher if his celebrated partner had not run him out so many times.
  • But they are as different as chalk and cheese, both in appearance and otherwise: Walt is a ladies' man and an aspiring actor, while Bob is an unassuming athlete with terrible stage fright.
  • Whether this turns out to be true or not, in my opinion, hunting and fishing are as different as chalk and cheese so I stay out of an argument that does not involve me as a fisherman.

by a long chalk

British By far.
Example sentences
  • As well as being top scorers in the Bundesliga by a long chalk, their attackers have stood up in the Champions League.
  • He claimed that whatever musical advantages The Ten may have Letters and Colours are the better dancers, by a long chalk.
  • The position against Europe has not changed much either - Germany and France are still ahead by a long chalk.

Phrasal verbs


chalk something out

Sketch or plan something: we have already chalked out the strategy for conducting raids
More example sentences
  • While the strategy at the think-tank level may well be in place, those who have chalked it out face the absence of a well-oiled machinery that can effectively implement it.
  • Of course the easiest way to make your own batter's box template is to just chalk it out alongside a tape measure and a level.
  • The artist begins by first drawing the scene in miniature and then chalking it out to actual dimensions on black tarpaper.

chalk something up

1Achieve something noteworthy: he has chalked up a box-office success
More example sentences
  • Even if everything goes according to plan - and that is a big ‘if’ - many years of gruelling negotiations lie ahead before a genuine achievement can be chalked up.
  • Unfortunately, two of those losses were chalked up to the Red Deer Kings.
  • The Kildare man knows the stroke will be chalked up as a winner in his horse racing mad constituency where obviously a nod is as good as a wink…
achieve, attain, accomplish, gain, earn, win, succeed in making, make, get, obtain, rack up
2Ascribe something to a particular cause: I chalked my sleeplessness up to nerves
More example sentences
  • Let's all just chalk this up to poetic license and go with the Japan thing.
  • Now I'm inclined to chalk that up to sheer dumb luck, or more accurately, to contingency.
  • There are some things we can chalk up to budgetary constraints and fiscal realities; there are others that we can chalk up to bad priorities.
attribute, assign, ascribe, put down;
blame on, pin on, lay at the door of


Old English cealc (also denoting lime), related to Dutch kalk and German Kalk, from Latin calx (see calx).

  • Old English cealc, the forerunner of chalk, also meant ‘lime’. It came from Latin calx ‘lime’, which is also the source of calcium [19th]. When we say by a long chalk, meaning ‘to a great degree, by far’ (and not by a long chalk, ‘not at all’), the ‘ long chalk’ refers to the length of a line of chalk marks or tallies drawn on a blackboard. This may originally have been in the context of a pub game, where points scored were marked up on the blackboard, or perhaps in the classroom, with a teacher chalking up pupils' marks for schoolwork. In either case, a long line of chalk marks against your name would mean you were a long way ahead of the others.

Words that rhyme with chalk

auk, baulk, Bork, caulk (US calk), cork, Dundalk, Falk, fork, gawk, hawk, Hawke, nork, orc, outwalk, pork, squawk, stalk, stork, talk, torc, torque, walk, york

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: chalk

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