\ ˈchəŋk How to pronounce chunk (audio) \

Definition of chunk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a short thick piece or lump (as of wood or coal)
2 : a large noteworthy quantity or part bet a sizable chunk of money on the race
3 : a strong thickset horse usually smaller than a draft horse
4 psychology : a unit of information retained in the memory and easily recalled The process of memorizing may be simply the formation of chunks, or groups of items that go together, until there are few enough chunks so that we can recall all the items.— Marilyn Sternglass A chunk represents a recoding of information. For example, the sequence 149217761941 would, for most of us, be a snap to remember. Almost automatically we'd recode the 12 digits into three chunks, 1492, 1776, 1941, all key dates in US history.— Robert Kanigel


chunked; chunking; chunks

Definition of chunk (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a dull plunging or explosive sound the rhythmic chunking of thrown quoits— John Updike

transitive verb

1 : to mishit (a golf ball or shot) by striking the ground behind the ball
2 psychology : to organize (separate units of information) into a single large unit that is retained in the memory and easily recalled To recall a 10-digit telephone number, for instance, a person could chunk the digits into three groups: the area code (such as 021), then a three-digit chunk (639) and a four-digit chunk (4345).— Jonathan K. Foster

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Examples of chunk in a Sentence

Noun She cut the fruit into large chunks. She spends a good chunk of her day on the phone. He devoted a large chunk of time to the project.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The momentous 1946 crisis, when the United States helped Iran rebuff Soviet attempts to saw off a large chunk of its territory, merits two pages. Washington Post, "America and Iran, from fascination to antagonism," 26 Feb. 2021 There is no use in making a move with a large chunk of the TPE to simply make a move. Chris Grenham, Forbes, "Realistically Evaluating The Boston Celtics’ Traded Player Exception," 25 Feb. 2021 The large chunk of snow that Gordon is holding points out the misconception that many people have about avalanches. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah author imparts hard lessons learned by avalanche forecasters from their encounters with ‘snow dragons’," 22 Feb. 2021 Republican lawmaker Adam Kinzinger of Illinois has been disowned by a large chunk of his kin after voting to impeach Trump over the Capitol insurrection last month. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Rush Limbaugh was Trump before Trump," 19 Feb. 2021 The district used a large chunk of the more than $353,000 in federal funding anticipated to conduct training in the summer needed to get virtual options up and running, according to Superintendent Aaron Milner, and to hire additional nurses. Ruth Serven Smith, al, "New CDC guidance, CARES money for Alabama schools," 13 Feb. 2021 The White House is pushing back on congressional Democrats who are pressing President Biden to forgive a large chunk of federal student loan debt through executive action. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "White House punts 'next steps' on student loan forgiveness to Congress," 4 Feb. 2021 Morant could miss between 11-18 games, a sizable chunk in a 72-game season. Evan Barnes, USA TODAY, "Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant will miss three to five weeks with Grade 2 ankle sprain," 29 Dec. 2020 Folks working in the mall told us last week that construction crews showed up not long ago and took away their equipment, leaving behind the shell of a theater that now eats up a sizable chunk of the parking lot on the mall’s north side. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Catch a movie at the new Cinépolis in West Plano? Don’t bother. It’s now an empty shell," 14 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Roast the medium-sweet flesh, or chunk it for stews. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "16 Types of Squash and Everything You Need to Know About Them," 19 July 2020 In the first round, Mattie, Swaggy, and Cory decide to team up and chunk out the sequence together. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "The Challenge: Total Madness recap: Double elimination sends two strong guys home," 21 May 2020 This beastly setup offers Nvidia’s high-end Titan RTX graphics card, paired with a 4GHz processor, 32GB of RAM, and a full terabyte of storage space, with the option to rent more in those 256GB chunks at $3 a pop. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "No PC, no problem: Shadow supercharges cloud gaming with lower prices, faster hardware, and VR," 12 Mar. 2020 The Bruins chunked several birdie putts, including a slick third-period setup from Charlie McAvoy that Chris Wagner heeled wide of an open net. Matt Porter,, "Bruins unable to convert a host of good looks," 9 Feb. 2020 Capacity can be increased by chunking information into smaller bits (level 3). Kenneth A. Kiewra, Quartz, "A seven-step guide to taking better notes," 4 Sep. 2019 Capacity can be increased by chunking information into smaller bits (level 3). Kenneth A. Kiewra, Quartz, "A seven-step guide to taking better notes," 4 Sep. 2019 Capacity can be increased by chunking information into smaller bits (level 3). Kenneth A. Kiewra, Quartz, "A seven-step guide to taking better notes," 4 Sep. 2019 All these steps, chunked into a single unit in the memory, are triggered by the environmental cue of getting into your car. Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, "Can Brain Science Help Us Break Bad Habits?," 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chunk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chunk


1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1890, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for chunk


perhaps alteration of chuck short piece of wood



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Statistics for chunk

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for chunk



English Language Learners Definition of chunk

: a thick piece of something
somewhat informal : a large amount or part of something


\ ˈchəŋk How to pronounce chunk (audio) \

Kids Definition of chunk

: a short thick piece a chunk of ice

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More from Merriam-Webster on chunk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chunk

Nglish: Translation of chunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chunk for Arabic Speakers

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