packed full


chock-a-block = gerammelt voll, rappelvoll, dicht zusammen, vollgepfropft —— to be chock-a-block with sth. = mit etw. vollgestopft sein



"Our house was absolutely CHOCK-A-BLOCK,” she* says, “Most rooms had boxes of books and bookshelves of books."

*Carole-Ann Warburton (when she finally opened her own bookshop, she already had 8,000 books to fill it)

Paula Cocozza - The Guardian

Did you

adjective - informal

- crammed full of people or things

Oxford Dictionaries


The term chock is old and has a nautical origin, it is thought to have come from chock-full (or choke-full), meaning ‘full to choking’. This dates back to the 15th century and is cited in Morte Arthur, circa 1400: “Charottez chokkefulle charegyde with golde.”

This meaning was later used to give a name to the wedges of wood which are used to secure moving objects - chocks, which were used on ships.

Block and tackle is a pulley system used on sailing ships to hoist the sails. Chock-a-block describes what occurs when the system is raised to its fullest extent - when there is no more rope free and the blocks jam tightly together.


The China National Highway 110 traffic jam was a recurring massive traffic jam that began to form on August 13, 2010 and is considered to be one of the longest traffic jams in history.

Thousands of vehicles were stuck bumper-to-bumper for more than 100 kilometers for 10 days with many drivers able to move their vehicles only 1 km per day.

Entrepreneurial locals near the highway sold various goods like water, instant noodles, and cigarettes at inflated prices to the stranded drivers. Other vendors on bicycles were selling bottles of water for 15x the normal price.


brimful, brimming, chockful, CHOCK-A-BLOCK, crammed, elbow-to-elbow, filled to capacity, filled to the brim, fit to bust, flush, full to the gunwales, full house, jam-packed, jammed full, like Piccadilly Circus, like the Black Hole of Calcutta, packed like sardines, piled high, sardined, teeming, up to here, up to the hilt, up to the rafters, up to the roof, wall-to-wall

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“Returning from the exhibition, my bag was CHOCK-A-BLOCK with brochures and price lists.”

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Paul Smith

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