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Different as chalk and cheese

Posted by ESC on November 27, 2000

In Reply to: Different as chalk and cheese posted by Elsa Vorwerk on November 26, 2000

: Wondering if anyone knows the origin (literary?) of the English idiom "different as chalk and cheese," meaning similar in superficial appearance but very dissimilar in nature. Hope someone knows the answer! Elsa in Allegany County, Maryland.

I can't help you much on this one. Maybe some of the British Phrase Finders have more information. Here's what I found:

CHALK AND CHEESE - "(U.S. equivalent) 'night and day.' Worlds apart. As different as chalk from cheese is the usual phrase, the equivalent of 'as different as night and day.' This is sometimes shortened to 'chalk and cheese': 'Why, they're as different as chalk and cheese." From "British English: A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur (Harper Perennial, New York, 1987).