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

Definition of chockablock

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: chock chockablock full



Definition of chockablock (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : brought close together
2 : very full shelves chockablock with books

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Synonyms & Antonyms for chockablock

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

First Known Use of chockablock


1799, in the meaning defined above


1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of chockablock was in 1799

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Cite this Entry

“Chockablock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of chockablock

: very full

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