fork

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See also: förk.

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Pronged eating utensil — a fork (sense 4)
Solid white.svga b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8{{{square}}} black rook8
7{{{square}}} black king7
6{{{square}}} white knight6
55
4{{{square}}} black pawn4
3{{{square}}} white rook{{{square}}} white rook3
22
11
Solid white.svga b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
The knight forks the black king and rook. The pawn forks the white rooks. (sense 10)
A small garden fork (sense 2)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English forke (digging fork), from Old English force, forca (forked instrument used to torture), from Proto-West Germanic *furkō (fork), from Latin furca (pitchfork, forked stake; gallows, beam, stake, support post, yoke), of uncertain origin. The Middle English word was later reinforced by Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French forque (= Old French forche whence French fourche), also from the Latin. Cognate also with North Frisian forck (fork), Dutch vork (fork), Danish fork (fork), German Forke (pitchfork). Displaced native gafol, ġeafel, ġeafle (fork), from Old English.

In its primary sense of fork, Latin furca appears to be derived from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰerk(ʷ)-, *ǵʰerg(ʷ)- (fork), although the development of the -c- is difficult to explain. In other senses this derivation is unlikely. For these, perhaps it is connected to Proto-Germanic *furkaz, *firkalaz (stake, stick, pole, post), from Proto-Indo-European *perg- (pole, post). If so, this would relate the word to Old English forclas pl (bolt), Old Saxon ferkal (lock, bolt, bar), Old Norse forkr (pole, staff, stick), Norwegian fork (stick, bat), Swedish fork (pole).

Noun[edit]

fork (plural forks)

  1. A pronged tool having a long straight handle, used for digging, lifting, throwing etc.
    Synonym: pitchfork
  2. A pronged tool for use in the garden; a smaller hand fork for weeding etc., or larger for turning over the soil.
  3. (obsolete) A gallows.
    • a. 1680, Samuel Butler, Characters:
      They had run through all punishments, and just 'scaped the fork
  4. A utensil with spikes used to put solid food into the mouth, or to hold food down while cutting.
  5. A tuning fork.
  6. An intersection in a road or path where one road is split into two.
  7. One of the parts into which anything is furcated or divided; a prong; a branch of a stream, a road, etc.; a barbed point, as of an arrow.
    • c. 1719, Joseph Addison, Dialogues Upon the Usefulness of Ancient Medals:
      a thunderbolt with three forks.
  8. A point where a waterway, such as a river, splits and goes two (or more) different directions.
  9. (figuratively) A point in time where one has to make a decision between two life paths.
  10. (chess) The simultaneous attack of two adversary pieces with one single attacking piece (especially a knight).
  11. (computing) A splitting-up of an existing process into itself and a child process executing parts of the same program.
  12. (software) The splitting of a software development effort into two or more separate projects, especially in free and open-source software.
  13. (software) Any of the software projects resulting from such a split.
    LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice.
  14. (cryptocurrencies, by extension) A split in a blockchain resulting from protocol disagreements, or a branch of the blockchain resulting from such a split.
    Hyponyms: hard fork, soft fork
    • 2015 August 17, Alex Hern, “Bitcoin's forked: chief scientist launches alternative proposal for the currency”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Known as a “fork”, the new version of bitcoin (dubbed Bitcoin XT) would support more transactions per hour, at the cost of increasing the amount of memory required to hold a full database of all the bitcoin transactions throughout history, known as the blockchain.
  15. (Britain) The crotch. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  16. (colloquial) A forklift.
    Are you qualified to drive a fork?
  17. The set of blades of a forklift, on which the goods to be raised are loaded.
  18. (cycling, motorcycling) In a bicycle or motorcycle, the portion of the frameset holding the front wheel, allowing the rider to steer and balance, also called front fork.
    The fork can be equipped with a suspension on mountain bikes.
  19. The upper front brow of a saddle bow, connected in the tree by the two saddle bars to the cantle on the other end.
    Synonyms: swell, pommel
Hyponyms[edit]
forks used for eating
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Descendants[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb[edit]

fork (third-person singular simple present forks, present participle forking, simple past and past participle forked)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To divide into two or more branches or copies.
    A road, a tree, or a stream forks.
    1. (transitive, intransitive, computing) To spawn a new child process by duplicating the existing process.
      • 2008, Mark G. Sobell, A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux[2], Pearson Education, →ISBN:
        A parent process forks a child process, which in turn can fork other processes.
      • 2013, W. Richard Stevens; Stephen A. Rago, Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, third edition, Addison-Wesley, →ISBN, page 304:
        It appears that the shell forks a copy of itself and that this copy then forks to make each of the previous processes in the pipeline.
    2. (transitive, intransitive, software engineering) To split a (software) project into several projects.
      • 2007, Fadi P. Deek; James A. M. McHugh, Open Source: Technology and Policy, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 21:
        For various reasons, McCool's server project subsequently forked, leading to the development of the Apache Web Server.
      • 2015, Christian Bird et al., editors, The Art and Science of Analyzing Software Data, Elsevier, →ISBN, page 77:
        Google forked WebKit to create the Blink project in April 2013 because they wanted to make larger-scale changes to WebKit to fit their own needs that did not align well with the WebKit project itself.
    3. (transitive, software engineering) To create a copy of a distributed version control repository.
      • 2015, Sajal Debnath, Mastering PowerCLI, Packt Publishing Ltd, →ISBN, page 27:
        In this model, anyone can fork an existing repository and push changes to their personal fork.
  2. (transitive) To move with a fork (as hay or food).
    • 1844, John Wilson, Essay on the Genius, and Character of Burns:
      forking the sheaves on the high-laden cart
  3. (transitive, Britain) To kick someone in the crotch.
  4. (intransitive) To shoot into blades, as corn does.
    • 1707, J[ohn] Mortimer, The Whole Art of Husbandry; or, The Way of Managing and Improving of Land. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J[ohn] H[umphreys] for H[enry] Mortlock [], and J[onathan] Robinson [], published 1708, OCLC 13320837:
      I have known them couched up a Yard thick cover’d with an Hair-cloth and ſtirred only once a day, the Maltſer being always careful to throw the frozen outſides into the middle till the Corn begin to fork and warm in the Couch; after which time if it be not laid too thin, it will not eaſily freeze.
  5. (transitive) Euphemistic form of fuck.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

fork (plural forks)

  1. (mining) The bottom of a sump into which the water of a mine drains.

Verb[edit]

fork (third-person singular simple present forks, present participle forking, simple past and past participle forked)

  1. (mining, transitive) To bale a shaft dry.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Danish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse forkr (boathook), from Latin furca (fork, pitchfork).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /fɔrk/, [fɒːɡ̊]

Noun[edit]

fork c (singular definite forken, plural indefinite forke)

  1. (two-pronged) fork, pitchfork

Inflection[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English fork in the computer science sense. Doublet of vork (fork).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fork f (plural forks, diminutive forkje n)

  1. (computer science) A fork, splitting-up of an existing process into itself and a child process executing parts of the same program.

Synonyms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Noun[edit]

fork

  1. Alternative form of forke