Meaning of chalk in English:


Pronunciation /tʃɔːk/

See synonyms for chalk on

Translate chalk into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1A white soft earthy limestone (calcium carbonate) formed from the skeletal remains of sea creatures.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘The unconformity surface is overlain by sandstone, reworked chalk or tuff, and represents submarine or subaerial erosion and missing section.’
    • ‘In the north-east is agricultural land on chalk or limestone well drained by rivers.’
    • ‘limestones, in vineyard terms, may be normal rocky limestones or chalk, the first being much more common and its drainage properties rather variable.’
    • ‘Groundwater can react with chalk and limestone to produce carbon dioxide that displaces the normal air in a confined space.’
    • ‘Winter sweet, Chimonanthus praecox, will grow quite happily on chalk or limestone soils and fill the garden with spicy winter fragrance.’
    • ‘It grows on chalk or limestone soils, usually in sunny, open grassland but also on south-facing hedge-banks and woodland margins.’
    • ‘This shrubby climber occurs in woods and hedgerows in chalk and limestone areas of Southern England.’
    • ‘The air smells like moist potting soil, the skin of potatoes… the damp chalk of limestone.’
    • ‘Moreover, through our cities and agriculture we are constantly varying the surface reflectivity of the Earth, as with the exposure of white chalk at Gravesend.’
    • ‘Sprawled on the floor, her skin as white as chalk, her sightless eyes staring up the ceiling, was the body of an old lady.’
    • ‘While most people consider chalk to be white in colour, when weathered it can be grey and red (due to iron staining).’
    • ‘As the androids began their attack, Ravena noticed that their eyes were as white as chalk.’
    • ‘While the factory's existence is unmissable by its towering chimney that dominates the skyline, the location of its chalk quarry near the White Horse is rather more hidden.’
    • ‘Again Dave explains that this is a fantastic place for wildlife and one of the few places in the country where you can see white chalk cliffs untouched by man.’
    • ‘The company bought the land last year and started work on the site by digging into the chalk, creating a white bank which has become a landmark in the town.’
    • ‘A deposit that is similar to chalk is diatomaceous chert.’
    • ‘Across the valley from Monkton Combe, high above Bath, you can see the famous Westbury White Horse, the chalk image of mysterious origin.’
    1. 1.1A substance (calcium sulphate) that is similar to chalk, made into white or coloured sticks for writing or drawing.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘Madeleine explained the classrooms in St Bede's sister school in Tanzania were very basic with blackboards, chalk and windows without glass.’
      • ‘The whole class stopped, their eyes on me, and the teacher turned away from the board and pointed a short stub of blackboard chalk at me.’
      • ‘‘Some used to throw chalk or even the blackboard rubber at you if you wouldn't stop talking,’ she says.’
      • ‘Somehow I don't think those plush corporate boxes at Cardiff have a drawing board and chalk.’
      • ‘He portrays his wife with the lightest of touches, using red chalk, heightened with white in soft, feathery strokes which evince the profound French influence on his art.’
      • ‘Here on planet Earth white chalk on black slate provides plenty of contrast.’
      • ‘‘Very well,’ said the master, the circle, outlined in white chalk, began to grow darker.’
      • ‘Worse still, when the team returned they found that the baggage handlers at Auckland airport had scrawled ‘losers’ in white chalk across all their bags.’
      • ‘Peggy took her place at the window back inside the recovery room and watched as the detectives took their pictures, and outlined the body with white chalk.’
      • ‘His presentation drawings, portraits, and character heads, usually made in charcoal or white chalk, were also in wide demand from discerning collectors.’
      • ‘Using white chalk, a geometric shape was lightly sketched, filling the paper to achieve balance.’
      • ‘With white chalk, a recent innovation, he wrote an E on the slate.’
      • ‘At various times she was told to make the sign of the cross using black or white chalk; if she chose black she would be considered a demon.’
      • ‘A large Fleur-de-lis is drawn with blue and white chalk on the parking lot.’
      • ‘I walked up to the front of the room, where the chalk board was, and grabbed a piece of white chalk.’
      • ‘He took out a white piece of chalk and gave it to Rena.’
      • ‘I got up and found a perfect piece of white chalk waiting for me.’
    2. 1.2Geology count noun A series of strata consisting mainly of chalk.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘Recent work on Upper Cretaceous sequence stratigraphy in European basins has demonstrated that chalks provide valuable information on short- and long-term sea-level change.’
      • ‘The flora extracted from the underlying Maastrichtian chalks is sparse, but indicative of open marine conditions.’
  • 2

    short for French chalk


[with object]
  • 1Write or draw with chalk.

    ‘he chalked a message on the board’
    • ‘the menu was chalked up on a blackboard’
    • ‘People were chalking messages over the square.’
    • ‘In retaliation she had chalked her own message pointing at her neighbour's house and when she saw she had got her view across, she went to wash it off.’
    • ‘McQueen has had notoriously bad relationships with his bosses - he used to chalk obscene messages onto the linings of suits he was tailoring in Savile Row.’
    • ‘Since I see it everywhere, I should take the hint and put it everywhere, hide it in messages, chalk it on walls etc.’
    • ‘Demonstrators chalked numerous messages in Library Square and along the route of the march.’
    • ‘She proceeds to chalk her slate with fresh attributes that represent all that Manderlay hopes to skewer.’
    • ‘Numbers corresponding to seat numbers were chalked round the wheel of the bus, with a further mark on the mudguard.’
    • ‘There is even an evolving language of street markings that uses chalked symbols to alert passers-by to a WiFi network nearby.’
    • ‘The playground was awash with them, as were walls, corridors, exercise books and the backs of lower school pupils who could be held down while a pud was chalked onto their jersey.’
    • ‘A novelist who chalked her first words on a Lancaster windowsill has returned to her birthplace decades later.’
    • ‘I can only assume this is what happens when Hugh Dallas chalks off 0.2 of a Celtic goal or adds 0.1 to a Rangers strike.’
    • ‘In relation to chalking the front doorstep it has been suggested that the secret of an effective pattern was that no gaps were left, for it was through these gaps that the devil and spirits would enter the house.’
    • ‘This is a beautiful chance to vote for those who will be providing the microwaves in Kirk, chalking revolutionary slogans beside the graveyard, fighting against fee rises, not to mention a host of other beneficial activities.’
    • ‘One of them concerns Arthur Stace, the man who chalked the word ‘eternity’ from one end of town to the other.’
    • ‘‘Taylor must go’ was chalked on the road in front of walls topped with razor wire.’
    • ‘Irishman Bob even chalked my name up on the pool player blackboard.’
    • ‘The team went house to house, checking to see whether the drops had been administered, giving them if they had not, and then chalking the status upon wooden doors.’
    • ‘I chalked a big poem on the street for my boyfriend.’
    • ‘The 116th Infantry chalked this on the back of one of their vehicles going out on a patrol I accompanied.’
    • ‘Even the specials menus, advertising milkshakes, egg creams and the Lakeview's trademark breakfast pizza are still chalked onto the wall.’
    1. 1.1Draw or write on (a surface) with chalk.
      ‘blackboards chalked with Japanese phrases’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The simple plastic weave of a café chair, a blackboard chalked with the specials du jour, the cloudy comfort of a cool pastis and the sinuous scent of coffee and fresh-baked bread.’
      • ‘I remember one slogan chalked on a blackboard in the main hall: ‘The autocracy of the articulate!’’
      • ‘I looked up at the menu chalked on the blackboard behind her.’
      • ‘The menu offered a selection of fish, meat and vegetarian options, with almost as many specials chalked on the blackboard.’
      • ‘I counted more than 20 dishes chalked up on the blackboard and was pleasantly surprised with what was on offer.’
      • ‘She did not, as I had hoped, lead us through the routines in slow motion, with the aid of diagrams chalked up on a blackboard.’
      • ‘I've come up with a verse myself which is chalked up on the blackboard at the moment but I am hoping we can replace it with a better one written by a guest.’
      • ‘Each engine is attended to in turn, usually according to a roster chalked on a blackboard.’
      • ‘The crowd broke into renewed cheering when this was chalked on a blackboard.’
      • ‘In addition to the excellent guide books, a blackboard has chalked listings of the highlights on any particular day.’
      • ‘Carefully and deliberately a list of headings was chalked on the blackboard.’
      • ‘On a blackboard was chalked a list of meat pies for sale; I once asked for a steak and kidney pie, and the assistant descended a ladder into the basement and brought it up from the freezer.’
      • ‘Mr Howard has been running a series of successful bargains, chalking up offers on the large blackboard outside his store.’
      • ‘One man with a red tail invited people to scatter bread inside a dove he chalked onto the stone slabs.’
      • ‘Towards evening, children were chalking peace signs on the asphalt tiles.’
      • ‘At one stage the signs were chalked on a piece of wood.’
      • ‘The exhibition was inspired by the homeless Sydney man, Arthur Stace who walked the city for decades chalking the word Eternity on pavements and walls in a perfect copperplate script.’
    2. 1.2Rub the tip of (a snooker cue) with chalk.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘Between each shot he studied the table carefully, chalking his cue.’
      • ‘After a pause to chalk his cue, Des sank his last spot and quickly dispatched the black.’
      • ‘She slowly stalks around the table, taking her time chalking the cue, and she seems to be winning most of the games.’
      • ‘Taking only a moment to chalk his cue, he got down on the table and potted the five.’
      • ‘He chalks the tip of his cue with methodical twists of the wrist.’
      • ‘You can be chalked and loaded and assured as hell, but if you don't know how your table rolls or where to aim, you're banking too much on lucky shots.’
      • ‘You know what I mean, those blue cubes that you use to chalk up your cue when you're playing snooker or pool in an attempt to make it look like you know what you're doing.’
      • ‘Between each shot he studied the table carefully, chalking his cue.’
      • ‘After a pause to chalk his cue, Des sank his last spot and quickly dispatched the black.’
      • ‘Taking only a moment to chalk his cue, he got down on the table and potted the five.’


    by a long chalk
    • By far.

      ‘she is, by a long chalk, the highest paid’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The winner, by a long chalk, is that old stalwart The Sound of Music.’
      • ‘They know instinctively what to do and Kirwan clearly recognised that quality in Griffen who was my man of the match by a long chalk.’
      • ‘‘We believe that we have, by a long chalk, the easiest, least disruptive, and fastest migration path from your current situation to a demand driven manufacturing system at an early phase of the project’.’
      • ‘Microsoft's biggest customer for Internet Explorer by a long chalk finally seems on the brink of kissing the software goodbye - or alternatively, it's just playing a little hard-ball.’
      • ‘That very successful implementation is going to be hardest of the criteria to fulfill, by a long chalk.’
      • ‘Only a third of the economy has been denationalised, which is not considered enough by a long chalk.’
      • ‘Toussaint's most recent novel, Faire l' amour, is by a long chalk the darkest of his fictions to date.’
    chalk and talk
    • Teaching by traditional methods focusing on the blackboard and presentation by the teacher as opposed to more informal or interactive methods.

      ‘The presentations were made using a traditional ‘chalk and talk’ method whereby the information was placed on a board and dutifully copied by the students.’
      • ‘The directional ‘chalk and talk ‘relationship between teacher and student - students as audience - here gives way to the model of information technology based self-learning within flexibly designed space.’’
      • ‘If you read through active learning literature, you can't miss the disdain for those stuck in the ‘chalk and talk’ method of conveying information to undergraduates.’
      • ‘‘The key is to make the education process active, joyful and participatory, instead of just chalk and talk by teachers,’ he said.’
      • ‘Even the ‘chalk and talk’ methods of education are being replaced by multimedia demonstrations that make it easier for students to understand and retain complex aspects of the subjects they are studying.’
      • ‘Numerous books and articles have been written to explain a wide range of ways economists can use alternative methods (other than chalk and talk) in various types of undergraduate courses.’
      • ‘You must not do ‘chalk and talk’ at the blackboard.’
      • ‘Their enemy is the big classroom lecture fronted by a distant-minded professor- the ‘sage on the stage’ who commits the sin of ‘chalk and talk,’ as the slogans go.’
      • ‘Each session starts and finishes with everyone sitting in a circle; and there is no teacher and taught, no guru, nor any ‘chalk and talk’.’
      • ‘The Merlin Training Facility is a huge leap forward, with many slabs of ‘chalk and talk’ lectures replaced by computer-based lessons using CD-ROMs and powerful simulators.’
    like chalk and cheese
    • Fundamentally different or incompatible.

      ‘we'll never get on—we're like chalk and cheese’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So I guess the locals are as different as chalk and cheese.’
      • ‘Treats as different as chalk and cheese will feature on consecutive nights next week.’
      • ‘Second, it must not expect the public to distinguish between different types of nanotechnology, even if they are as different as chalk and cheese.’
      • ‘Like Morecambe and Wise, Laurel and Hardy or even Starsky and Hutch, Sale's coaching duo of Jim Mallinder and Steve Diamond are as different as chalk and cheese.’
      • ‘More than one friend has admitted that he can be a nightmare at times, but you can't take away his talent even though, in most respects, he and Robinson are as different as chalk and cheese.’
      • ‘The scenarios are as different as chalk and cheese.’
      • ‘They are as different as chalk and cheese - the dapper Aussie and the typically gruff Yorkshireman.’
    not by a long chalk
    • By no means; not at all.

      ‘they weren't beaten yet, not by a long chalk’
      • ‘We didn't manage the lot, not by a long chalk, but we managed this distant outpost.’
      • ‘‘And,’ added Gilz, because he wasn't finished, not by a long chalk, ‘I bet that one of the tabloids sends a Diana look alike down to the registry office.’’
      • ‘It's not the greatest opera ever written, not by a long chalk.’
      • ‘Horse racing is not perfect, not by a long chalk, but it has a future which can only get better.’
      • ‘USB may be built into almost all PCs that ship today, but that doesn't mean the majority of users are hooking peripherals up to their machines using that bus, not by a long chalk.’
      • ‘The toughest, not the prettiest, though, not by a long chalk.’
      • ‘This is not the worst movie ever made - not by a long chalk.’
      • ‘But Kammy's not done it all, not by a long chalk, and he finds this irksome.’
      • ‘They are not the world's most emotional sporting enthusiasts, not by a long chalk, but even they can lose perspective.’
      • ‘I may have disabilities and problems and troubles and stuff that holds me back, but I'm not done living! Not by a long chalk.’


      With reference to the chalk used for marking up scores in competitive games.

Phrasal Verbs

    chalk off
    • chalk something off, chalk off something(in sport) disallow a goal for an infringement of the rules.

      ‘Scott McCartney netted from a second-half penalty corner, only to have the goal chalked off for a foot infringement.’
      • ‘Sammy Ayorinde had the ball in the net on 14 minutes for Stalybridge but the goal was chalked off for off-side.’
      • ‘But the fleet-footed winger was adjudged to have stepped into touch and the try was chalked off.’
      • ‘Boro had the ball in the net after 18 minutes but Niell Hardy's superb volleyed effort was chalked off for offside.’
      • ‘Before the Minstermen scored the home side had a strike chalked off after Scott Jackson had strayed offside in a tight decision.’
      • ‘But the "goal" was chalked off for the foul on the keeper.’
      • ‘But his effort was chalked off by referee Trevor Parkes after one of his assistants flagged for offside.’
      • ‘What I do know is that I've 37 caps and that I've chalked off a few nice victories but I want more.’
      • ‘Referee Colin MacDonald chalked off the other efforts which crossed the line and Kingussie were fortunate to reach the interval in the lead.’
      • ‘After half-time, Stott scored from a penalty corner, and had another in the net only for it to be chalked off.’
    chalk out
    • chalk something out, chalk out somethingSketch or plan something.

      ‘we have already chalked out the strategy for conducting raids’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After I chalk it out, I move it inside the house and sit down and look at it for a long time.’
      • ‘What better way is there for Mos Burger to inform of the traceability of its agricultural products than a small blackboard chalking it out before your very eyes!’
      • ‘Then he used a flame template that we found on the net and chalked it out on the seat, made them as symmetrical as possible, and then he did his upholstery thing with a layer of some type of material underneath.’
      • ‘The formation a football manager chalks out on a blackboard can also sum up his outlook on life.’
      • ‘Instead, the concerned citizens drawn from various parts of the city were keen on chalking out ways to aid the Corporation and other agencies in the months to come.’
      • ‘The goals of this initiative are rather blurry, the details still being chalked out, but let's see where it goes.’
      • ‘We are looking at increasing our presence in India and for this a clear growth map has been chalked out.’
    chalk up
    • 1chalk something up, chalk up somethingAchieve something noteworthy.

      ‘Warner has chalked up an impressive 38 years at the firm’
      • ‘they took advantage of mistakes by the visitors to chalk up their fifth home win in six games’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘Residents who oppose the construction of the Sarcee extension may not have won the battle to prevent negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding, but they're chalking it up as a partial victory.’
      • ‘Every news story over the last month which points to support for a tax cut is chalked up as a victory for the president.’
      • ‘These companies have staged many splendid shows at the National Concert Hall over the years and this three-night run can be chalked up among their successes.’
      • ‘Old Malton chalked up their fourth away draw from five games after a 1-1 draw at Thorpe.’
      • ‘Listen, though you've chalked up quite a few in your lifetime, don't let it get you down.’
      • ‘Sure, they have been beaten by everybody and their grandmothers since September, not even having chalked up a draw.’
      • ‘She's even chalked up one of the country's top biology marks.’
    • 2chalk something up to somethingAttribute something to a particular cause.

      ‘I chalked my sleeplessness up to nerves’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Again, I chalk this up to the low budget they must have had.’
      • ‘I thanked my relative for her advice and chalked up the tears to her having a melodramatic midlife crisis.’
      • ‘I can't really explain why that is, so maybe we'll just have to chalk it down to the perplexing schematics of the plot and the strange blankness of most of the characters.’
      • ‘But the service certainly wasn't entirely bad, and I chalk the flaws up to the fact that the place is new.’
      • ‘Though Mercatto can be unbelievably busy, I have never waited for a table and chalk it up to extremely efficient service.’
      • ‘If none of the scenarios and few of the characters seem particularly original, chalk it up to six-decade-old source material.’
      • ‘At the time I chalked the whole thing up to a careless housemate, but I've just received something that has made me rethink my assumption.’


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