walk the chalk

walk the chalk (to pass the test, to meet the requirements;to act exactly as you are supposed to; to behave properly; to obey)
Literally the phrase refers to the sobriety test formerly given seamen: walking between parallel lines chalked on deck. The expression is little used today.

cсоответствовать требованиям;
вести себя безупречно, безукоризненно; строго, не отклоняясь, следовать указанной линии поведения; подчиняться (сравни: ходить по струнке)

"Sir, you shouldn't be eating a sandwich in front of everyone. You just told everyone they were not allowed to eat unless they were on break or lunch and you are on neither. Now that you put the rule out there, you are going to have to walk the chalk. It hurts morale when leaders don't follow their own rules," the assistant told the boss.

That new teacher really makes the students walk the chalk. In some classes the students play and talk, but Mr. Parker makes them walk the chalk. That theater owner wants his place to be orderly, and if boys and girls don't walk the chalk, he puts them out.

From the fact that sailors used to be asked to walk a chalk line along the deck of the ship to prove they were not drunk.)
Compare: [toe the line]


wo possible origins were discovered for the first meaning of this idiom. One had to do with the plumb lines used in
construction. A “plumb bob” was what workmen used to build square and level structures. The lead “bob” was tied to the
end of a string, which would be unwound from its stick and allowed to “settle.” Then the line, which was chalked with
blue, would be snapped against the wall, leaving a straight blue line. Before the invention of breathalyzers, these plum
lines would be snapped on the floor and drivers would be asked to walk them, to see if they were sober or not. The
other origin is similar, but derives from sailing, not construction. A straight chalk line would be drawn along the deck to
test the sobriety of a sailor. If he was unable to walk a straight line, he was considered to be too drunk for duty and was
put in the brig. The second meaning, “to make a hasty retreat,” is actually a corruption of another old saying, “walk your
chalks” or “Walk. You’re chalked,” and is not used anymore in America. Record of this usage of “walk the chalk” is found
mainly in late-19th century literature