or calk


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 caulk·ing [kaw-king] /ˈkɔ kɪŋ/. 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 confusedcalk caulk Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caulk

Historical Examples of caulk

  • I've forgotten to caulk that seam over your bunk, and it's going to rain.

    The Riddle of the Sands

    Erskine Childers

  • This satisfied them that they must caulk the boat before they could venture out to sea in her.

    The Three Admirals

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Billy, who was always ready for a caulk, lay down in the stern sheets.

    The Three Admirals

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • "Haines was to send a man to caulk a seam in the Nancy," he muttered.

    Prisoners of Hope

    Mary Johnston

  • The beginner should start at the trap and caulk the joints with the trap held in place.

British Dictionary definitions for caulk




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 Formscaulker or calker, noun

Word Origin for caulk

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

Word Origin and History for caulk

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