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Colorful chalk used for writing or drawing

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English chalk, chalke, from Old English cealc, borrowed from Latin calx (limestone), again borrowed from Ancient Greek χάλιξ (khálix, pebble)



chalk (countable and uncountable, plural chalks)

  1. (uncountable) A soft, white, powdery limestone.
  2. (countable) A piece of chalk, or nowadays processed compressed gypsum, that is used for drawing and for writing on a blackboard.
  3. Tailor's chalk.
  4. (uncountable, climbing) A white powdery substance used to prevent hands slipping from holds when climbing, sometimes but not always limestone-chalk.
  5. (US, military, countable) A platoon-sized group of airborne soldiers.
  6. (US, sports, chiefly basketball, horseracing) The favorite in a sporting event.
  7. (US, sports, chiefly basketball) The prediction that there will be no upsets, and the favored competitor will win.
    • 1982, March 22, “Phil Musick”, in And the pick here is - Georgetown over Houston[1], page 13:
      OK, let's get rid of the chalk players right away. The chalk likes North Carolina. Dean Smith has taken Carolina to the Final Four six times.
    • 1995, April 6, Notes on a Scorecard[2], page C3:
      Excuse us for sticking with the chalk, but the predicted winners are Afternoon Deelites in the Derby, Oliver McCall over Larry Holmes, Nick Faldo in the Masters, and Al Unser Jr. in the Grand Prix.
    • 2008, March 24, “Jason Bauman”, in Non-news of the week: Obama picks North Carolina[3], Aurora, Illinois:
      Instead, he played the chalk and selected the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


chalk (third-person singular simple present chalks, present participle chalking, simple past and past participle chalked)

  1. To apply chalk to anything, such as the tip of a billiard cue.
  2. To record something, as on a blackboard, using chalk.
  3. To use powdered chalk to mark the lines on a playing field.
  4. (figuratively) To record a score or event, as if on a chalkboard.
  5. To manure (land) with chalk.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Mortimer to this entry?)
    • 1821, Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain), Transactions, volume 39, page 11:
      I then chalked the land at an expense of 4l. per acre, and planted potatoes, about ten bushels to the acre []
  6. To make white, as if with chalk; to make pale; to bleach.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Tennyson to this entry?)
    • Herbert
      Let a bleak paleness chalk the door.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

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Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old English cealc, borrowed from Latin calx, in turn borrowed from Ancient Greek χάλιξ (khálix).



chalk (uncountable)

  1. chalk