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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for caulking
Historical Examples
  • It might be managed, perhaps, and he decided to do the caulking as requested by Roberts.

    The Trail of a Sourdough May Kellogg Sullivan
  • When the ship's labouring forces the caulking out of her seams.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • I did a lot of caulking yesterday, but I suppose I missed that place.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
  • If a short bend fitting is used, the matter of caulking is difficult.

    Elements of Plumbing Samuel Dibble
  • This fitting is threaded on one end and has a socket on the other to allow for caulking.

    Elements of Plumbing Samuel Dibble
  • The hull was made water-tight by caulking the seams of the planking.

    Ancient and Modern Ships. George C. V. Holmes
  • I called all hands and went to caulking with table knives, &c.

    Journal of Voyages Jacob Dunham
  • The caulking, careless from the haste in which it had been done, had come away.

  • The men left their tarring and caulking under the drying-stages.

    The Harbor Master Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  • Then they waited to see how well they had succeeded at their caulking.

    The Adventure Club Afloat

    Ralph Henry Barbour
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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