chalk up to experience


      • view something as a learning opportunity
        Acknowledge a mistake or failure as a learning experience and move on from it

      • attribute something to experience
        Attribute a particular outcome or result to the knowledge or wisdom gained from past experiences

    Examples of chalk up to experience

    • When I first started my job as a waitress, I kept spilling drinks on the customers. It was a real embarrassment, but I knew I had to chalk it up to experience and keep practicing until I got better.

      "Chalk it up to experience" is a phrase that means to accept a mistake or failure as a natural part of learning or gaining knowledge. In this example, the speaker is saying that she recognizes that spilling drinks on customers is a mistake that she's making as a new waitress, but she's not too discouraged because she knows that it's simply a result of gaining experience in her job.

    • I've always been a bit clumsy, and I'm afraid I've chalked up more than my fair share of broken dishes at dinner parties.

      The phrase "chalked up" refers to keeping a tally or score of something, in this case, the number of broken dishes. Here, the speaker is jokingly implying that the number of dishes she's broken is so high that it's become a regular occurrence, and she's beginning to think of it as a part of her personality or experience.

    • My horse had never run a race before, and I knew he would be nervous on the track. But I tried not to let it get to me. After all, every horse deserves to chalk up a few races as a first-time runner.

      Here, "chalk up" has a different connotation – it refers to a horse's first or debut race. By saying that every horse deserves to chalk up a few races, the speaker is implying that it's normal for horses to have some nerves or uncertainty in their first race, and that this is simply a part of the experience of running.

    • After we lost the game, I could tell the team was disappointed. But I reminded them that in sports, you've got to chalk it up to the other team's talent and strategy.

      "Chalk it up to" is used again as a way of acknowledging the losing team's success without making excuses. By saying that the losing team's talent and strategy should be credited with the game's outcome, the speaker is avoiding a defeated attitude and instead encouraging the losing team to learn from their mistakes and re-evaluate their strategy for future games.

    • Sarah's recent failure at her presentation was definitely a setback, but she shouldn't be too hard on herself. After all, the saying goes, "chalk it up to experience." Sarah may have stumbled this time, but she'll learn from her mistakes and become a better presenter in the future.

      The phrase "chalk it up to experience" is commonly used to describe a situation where someone has learned a valuable lesson through a negative experience. In Sarah's case, she can view her presentation mishap as a chance to learn and grow, rather than as a catastrophic failure. By chalking her experience up to learning, she can maintain a positive outlook and focus on improvement.

    • After the coffee spill ruined Jane's shirt, she couldn't help but laugh when she walked past a group of friends wearing coffee-stained clothing. "Guess we're all chalking this up to experience," she joked, earning a chuckle from her peers.

      This example showcases the versatility of the idiom, as it can be applied to a broad range of situations. In Jane's case, she was able to find humor in a frustrating experience by framing it as a shared learning opportunity. By using the idiom in a conversational context, she was able to lighten the mood and lift the spirits of her friends.

    • As Danny began his new job, he struggled with the many new tasks and responsibilities. However, rather than feeling overwhelmed, he took a deep breath and reminded himself that "everything is chalked up to experience." By viewing his job as a chance to learn and grow, he was able to approach his work with a positive attitude and a can-do spirit.

      This example illustrates how the idiom can be a powerful tool for building confidence and resilience. By framing new experiences as learning opportunities, individuals like Danny can approach challenges with a growth mindset, rather than becoming discouraged by setbacks. This can lead to greater success and fulfillment in the long run.

    • Following a disappointing loss in a sports game, the coach gathered his team together and addressed them, "We may have come up short today, but we can't let this defeat get us down. It's all part of the learning process - we're chalking this one up to experience."

      This example shows how the idiom can be a powerful source of inspiration and motivation. By framing defeats as chances to learn, coaches and leaders can help individuals maintain a positive outlook and focus on improvement. This can have a profound impact on team morale and performance, leading to greater success over time.


    The idiom "chalk up to experience" is used to acknowledge a mistake or failure as a learning experience and to attribute a particular outcome or result to the knowledge or wisdom gained from past experiences. It is often used to encourage a positive outlook on past failures and to emphasize the value of learning from one's experiences.

    Origin of "chalk up to experience"

    The origin of the idiom "chalk up to experience" can be traced back to the practice of tallying or keeping score using chalk marks. In the past, chalk was commonly used to mark points or keep track of scores in various games and competitions. Over time, the expression "chalk up" came to be associated with the act of recording or attributing something to a particular cause or source. The addition of "to experience" emphasizes the notion of attributing a particular outcome to the knowledge or wisdom gained from past experiences. Overall, the idiom reflects the idea of learning from one's experiences and using that knowledge to move forward.