I beat him by long chalks. Thoroughly. In allusion to the ancient
custom of making merit marks with chalk, before lead pencils were so
Walk your chalks.
Get you gone. Lodgings wanted for the royal retinue used to be
taken arbitrarily by the marshal and sergeant-chamberlain, the
inhabitants were sent to the right about, and the houses selected were
notified by a chalk mark. When Mary de Medicis, in 1638, came to
England, Sieur de Labat was employed to mark “all sorts of houses
commodious for her retinue in Colchester.” The same custom is referred
to in the Life and Acts of Sir William Wallace, in Edinburgh.
The phrase is “Walk, you're chalked,” corrupted into Walk your
In Scotland, at one time, the landlord gave the tenant notice to
quit by chalking the door.
“The prisoner has cut his stick, and walked his chalk, and is off to
London.” —C. Kingsley.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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