from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Squeezed together; jammed: The cheering fans were chock-a-block in the stands.
  • adj. Completely filled; stuffed: "I recommend the north shore chowder, chockablock with pieces of seasonal fish” ( Charles Monaghan).
  • adj. Nautical Drawn so close as to have the blocks touching. Used of a ship's hoisting tackle.
  • adv. Chock: a hall that was chock-a-block full.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Alternative spelling of chockablock.
  • adv. Alternative spelling of chockablock.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Alteration (influenced by chock) of block-a-block : block + a-2 + block.



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  • By hauling the reef-tackles chock-a-block we took the strain from the other earings, and passing the close-reef earing, and knotting the points carefully, we succeeded in setting the sail, close reefed.

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 25

    September 9, 2008

  • The present meaning (filled to capacity or overloaded) derives from a nautical term. The derivation of chock isn't entirely clear, but the word is thought to have come from chock-full (or "choke-full"), meaning "full to choking." This meaning was later used to name the wedges of wood used to secure moving objects. On sailing ships, a block and tackle pulley system was used to hoist the rigging. The phrase chock-a-block describes what occurs when the system is raised to its fullest extent, i.e., when there is no more rope free and the blocks jam tightly together.

    December 10, 2007