First recorded in Late Latin; uncertain origin. 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 (“bolt”) (plural), Old Saxon ferkal (“lock, bolt, bar”), Old Norse forkr (“pole, staff, stick”), Norwegian fork (“stick, bat”), Swedish fork (“pole”).
- A two-pronged fork, pitchfork.
- A fork-shaped prop, pole or stake.
- An instrument of punishment, a frame in the form of a fork, which was placed on a culprit's neck, while his hands were fastened to the two ends; yoke.
- Albanian: furkë
- Aromanian: furcã
- Asturian: forca
- Catalan: forca
- Dalmatian: fuarca
- Danish: fork
- Dutch: vork
- English: fork, fourche
- Esperanto: forko
- French: fourche, fourchette
- Friulian: forcje
- German: Forke
- furca in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- furca in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- du Cange, Charles (1883), “furca”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
- “furca” in Félix Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette (1934)
- furca in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
- furca in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin