Chalk and cheese


      • Differences or contrasting qualities
        To describe two things or people that are completely different from each other, often in terms of characteristics, appearance, or behavior

      • Incompatible or opposite qualities
        To emphasize the vast differences between two things or people, highlighting their incompatibility or contrasting qualities

      • Unlikely or improbable similarities
        To express surprise or disbelief at the notion of two things or people being similar, as they are seemingly as different as chalk and cheese

    Examples of Chalk and cheese


      The idiom "chalk and cheese" is commonly used to describe two things or people that are vastly different from each other. It can be used to highlight differences in characteristics, behavior, or appearance, and to emphasize the incompatibility of two things or people. It can also be used to express surprise at any perceived similarities between two seemingly opposite or unlikely things or people.

      Origin of "Chalk and cheese"

      The origin of the idiom "chalk and cheese" can be traced back to the 14th century, when it was first recorded in Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales." In this work, Chaucer describes the differences between two priests by saying "Adam and Eve were an ill match, like chalk and cheese." This usage suggests that even biblical figures, who are often seen as opposites in terms of their actions and morality, are more similar than the two priests in question.

      The comparison of chalk and cheese comes from the stark differences in appearance and texture between the two substances. Chalk is a soft, white, powdery substance, while cheese is a solid, often yellow or orange, and sometimes pungent food. This stark contrast in qualities has led to the use of the idiom to describe two things or people that are vastly different from each other. Over time, the idiom has become a common phrase in the English language and is used in a variety of contexts to convey the idea of extreme differences.