From "English Language and Usage" site: c.1400, from Middle English chokkeful (“crammed full”), possibly from choke (“cheek”) (see cheek (n.)), equivalent to cheek + full. Or it may be from Old French choquier “collide, crash, hit” [similar to shock]. Middle English chokkeful already had the same meaning as modern chock-full. Both this word and choke “to strangle” likely derive ultimately from Old English words meaning “jaw, cheek.” The end result is the same: a mouthful.
Alternately, chokkeful may derive from a more violent word: forced full.
(Some offer a false etymology based on the kind of chocks used in carpentry and shipbuilding: full up to the chocks, perhaps. However that sense of chock only dates to the 1670s, far too late to influence the Middle English word.)
- (informal) Containing the maximum amount possible, flush on all sides, jam-packed, crammed.
- That article is chock-full of errors
- 1741, George E. Nitzsche, The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, University of Pennsylvania. General Alumni Society, pages 251:
- The pages of the diary are chock full of fascinating reports of medical incidents of all sorts.
- 1848, Charles Dickens, Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Bradbury and Evans, pages 565:
- "Chock full o' science," said the radiant Captain, "as ever he was!"