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chock·​a·​block ˈchä-kə-ˌbläk How to pronounce chockablock (audio)
: chock
chockablock full


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: brought close together
: very full
shelves chockablock with books

Did you know?

Chockablock started out as a nautical term. A block is a metal or wooden case with one or more pulleys inside. Sometimes, two or more blocks are used as part of a rope and pulley system called a "block and tackle" to provide a mechanical advantage—as, for example, when hoisting a sail on a traditional sailing ship. When the rope is pulled as far as it will go, the blocks are tight together and are said to be chockablock. Non-nautical types associated the chock in chockablock with chock-full, which goes back to Middle English chokkefull, meaning "full to the limit" (a figurative use of "full to choking"). We thus gave chockablock the additional meaning "filled up." Chockablock can also be an adverb meaning "as close or as completely as possible," as in "families living chockablock" or the seemingly redundant "chockablock full."

Examples of chockablock in a Sentence

Adjective the mantel was chockablock with knickknacks
Recent Examples on the Web
Only a handful of brands had big TikTok or Instagram influencers at their shows: Alix Earle attended Dion Lee, Danielle Bernstein and Tinx were among the crowd at Prabal Gurung, and Staud was chockablock with ring-light-haloed women posting about the vibes. Rachel Tashjian, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chockablock.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1799, in the meaning defined above


1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of chockablock was in 1799


Dictionary Entries Near chockablock

Cite this Entry

“Chockablock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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