Let's say I someone accidentally leaned against a blackboard and got chalk stains on their clothes. What word or phrasal verb would you use to describe the process of removing the stains with one's hands. Would the phrase brush off fit the context? For example:

You got chalk on your back. You had better brush it off.

  • Your proposal sounds perfect to me.
    – TypeIA
    Jan 17, 2020 at 12:46
  • Expunging.
    – Void
    Jul 30, 2020 at 8:17
  • “dust”, “pat”, “scrape”, “shake”, are all possible options, amongst many others. It depends on what word picture you want to paint. How is the person doing the action? Gently? Aggressively? With a brushing action? With a scraping action? Something else?
    – jwpfox
    Nov 27, 2020 at 23:51
  • expunge means to remove a part of a text from a text.
    – Lambie
    Dec 6, 2021 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


'Brushing off' is suitable for removing dust from a smooth surface. Since it's about clothes here, I'd suggest 'shaking (the chalk dust) off. Here's a picture showing that very action which is referred to in the picture file name: enter image description here https://previews.123rf.com/images/gstockstudio/gstockstudio1602/gstockstudio160200033/51617903-shake-it-off-close-up-of-young-handsome-man-in-sunglasses-shaking-off-invisible-dust-from-his-should.jpg

  • Everyone seemed to miss the off preposition except you.
    – Lambie
    Dec 6, 2021 at 17:29

To dust and to pat come to my mind, as chalk on clothes resemble dust.

  • It's called 'chalk dust'. The verb 'to dust' is fine for this situation. It is a cliché to say that schoolteachers' clothes are covered in chalk dust. Jan 17, 2020 at 14:16
  • It is not dust chalk. It is: to dust off the chalk from your back.
    – Lambie
    Dec 6, 2021 at 17:26

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