fork

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See also: förk.

English[edit]

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Pronged eating utensil — a fork (sense 4)
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The knight forks the black king and rook. The pawn forks the white rooks. (sense 10)
A small garden fork (sense 2)

Pronunciation[edit]

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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bishop Joseph Butler to this entry?)
  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.
    • some time after his death in 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. (computer science) 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.
  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
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.
    A road, a tree, or a stream forks.
  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. (computer science) To spawn a new child process in some sense duplicating the existing process.
  4. (computer science) To split a (software) project into several projects.
  5. (computer science) To split a (software) distributed version control repository
  6. (Britain) To kick someone in the crotch.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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