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or calk

[kawk] /kɔk/
verb (used with object)
to fill or close seams or crevices of (a tank, window, etc.) in order to make watertight, airtight, etc.
to make (a vessel) watertight by filling the seams between the planks with oakum or other material driven snug.
to fill or close (a seam, joint, etc.), as in a boat.
to drive the edges of (plating) together to prevent leakage.
Also, caulking
[kaw-king] /ˈkɔ kɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
. a material or substance used for caulking.
Origin of caulk
1350-1400; < Latin calcāre to trample, tread on (verbal derivative of calx heel), conflated with Middle English cauken < Old French cauquer to trample < Latin, as above
Can be confused
calk, caulk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for caulking
Historical Examples
  • At this time he was earning a shilling a day by caulking the fishermen's boats under repair at the Pêqueries.

    Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo
  • I did a lot of caulking yesterday, but I suppose I missed that place.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
  • Any leaks in the caulking and grummeting (finished by June, 1907, and therefore all more than 12 months old) were repaired.

  • It might be managed, perhaps, and he decided to do the caulking as requested by Roberts.

    The Trail of a Sourdough May Kellogg Sullivan
  • Be sure to fill the seams thoroughly and tightly with the oakum or other caulking material.

    Woodworking for Beginners Charles Gardner Wheeler
  • This fitting is threaded on one end and has a socket on the other to allow for caulking.

    Elements of Plumbing Samuel Dibble
  • One of the caulker's tools; it has a groove in it, and is used after the caulking iron to finish off the seam.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • I called all hands and went to caulking with table knives, &c.

    Journal of Voyages Jacob Dunham
  • Hammers without valves are always short of stroke, and are chiefly used in caulking and chipping.

    Inventors at Work George Iles
  • The men left their tarring and caulking under the drying-stages.

    The Harbor Master Theodore Goodridge Roberts
British Dictionary definitions for caulking


to stop up (cracks, crevices, etc) with a filler
(nautical) to pack (the seams) between the planks of the bottom of (a vessel) with waterproof material to prevent leakage
Derived Forms
caulker, calker, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old Northern French cauquer to press down, from Latin calcāre to trample, from calx heel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caulking



late 14c., "to stop up crevices or cracks," from Old North French cauquer, from Late Latin calicare "to stop up chinks with lime," from Latin calx (2) "lime, limestone" (see chalk). Original sense is nautical, of making ships watertight. Related: Caulked; caulking. As a noun, "caulking material," by 1980 (caulking in this sense was used from 1743). Related: Caulker.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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