Definition of fork in English:

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Pronunciation: /fôrk/


1An implement with two or more prongs used for lifting food to the mouth or holding it when cutting.
Example sentences
  • All these invite the sidelong glances of those who pretend not to be looking, as when in a restaurant, she struggles to keep the food on the fork long enough to deposit it in the mouth.
  • A man often puts a piece of food on his fork, puts it in his mouth, swallows it, often too quickly to properly taste it, stops eating when he no longer feels hungry.
  • The herb mash was a tad too firm, although tasty enough, but that was more than made up for by the sheer quality, freshness and succulence of fish that virtually dissolved as the fork hit the mouth.
1.1A pronged tool used for digging or lifting in a garden or farm.
Example sentences
  • The first half ended with the skit entitled I didn't do it, in which Joseph plays a schoolboy arrested by the police for obscene language while working in the school garden with hoes, forks and agricultural tools.
  • To avoid damaging the edible portions, use a garden fork to loosen the soil around the leeks first.
  • Rhizomes are easy to pry up with a garden fork or shovel.
2A device, component, or part with two or more prongs, in particular.
Example sentences
  • A new, carbon fiber wrapped fork highlighted the component spec, as did a new headset.
  • A tuning fork is placed on the skull, and the patient indicates when the sound disappears.
  • Therefore, sound is still heard when the tuning fork is placed adjacent to the ear canal.
2.1A unit consisting of a pair of supports in which a bicycle or motorcycle wheel revolves.
Example sentences
  • The ladder arms are brought together at the front and angled up to become the headstock for the motorcycle forks, which are kept at a more vertical angle to allow for the extremely sharp turns.
  • Vintage steel wheels and forks are hard to find.
  • The wired mounting hardware works with oversized road bars and a variety of forks, but the wheel magnet only fits standard spokes.
2.2A flash of forked lightning.
Example sentences
  • Their linings were tainted a blood-red hue - a fork of lightning flashed every now and then.
  • Just as a fork of lightening flashed past her window, two figures appeared in the doorway.
  • The forks that you can see are actually nitrogen and oxygen, which has been converted into plasma.
3The point where something, especially a road or river, divides into two parts.
Example sentences
  • It was as if she stood at a junction, or a fork in the road, and there wasn't any correct way to go.
  • But the opposite holds true if the house is at the end of a T-junction or in the fork of a road where it faces oncoming traffic.
  • Night had fallen prematurely as they turned a bend in the road, and finally caught sight of the river fork.
3.1Either of the two parts where a road or river divides.
Example sentences
  • However, when the taxi driver took the fork in the road towards Manhattan rather than Long Island, a strange sensation washed over me.
  • At Kattikulam, the right fork of the road leads to Nagarhole and the left to Tirunelli through elephant sanctuaries and bamboo forests.
  • He didn't take the left fork in the road, he paid the consequences.
4 Chess A simultaneous attack on two or more pieces by one piece.
Example sentences
  • A fork occurs when one piece attacks two or more enemy units at the same time.
  • Forks are covered in the chapter ‘The Double Attack,’ although many would consider forks to be a separate species of double attack.


1 [no object] (Especially of a road or other route) divide into two parts: the place where the road forks
More example sentences
  • Frequent bolts of lightning forked through the sky, lighting up her surroundings with an eerie brightness.
  • Lightning forked down from the sky, and thunder roared in sympathy moments later, adding to the hellish scene.
  • Narrow dirt paths forked from the stairs, leading to even denser rows of crosses amongst soft weeds.
split, branch (off), divide, subdivide, separate, part, diverge, go in different directions, bifurcate
technical divaricate, ramify
1.1 [no object] Take or constitute one part or the other at the point where a road or other route divides: a minor road forked left
More example sentences
  • She strengthened her grip on my arm, steered me onto a smaller path which forked off the main route to the left.
  • Just before the house, take a path that forks to the right and then go right again after 20 yards, following the edge of a field up to a minor road.
  • At the top of the steps take the path forking left and cross a stile leading into a field.
2 [with object] Dig, lift, or manipulate (something) with a fork: fork in some compost
More example sentences
  • After a crash course on dining with élan and forking food with flair, the surprise test came on china piled high with tricky-to-eat broccoli, sprouts and small sautéed potatoes.
  • One of the main features of the day was the steam threshing which involved forking the stooks into the steam-powered conveyor belt.
  • The hay was forked into the hayshed, when the pile got so high; someone had to go up and ‘tramp’ it and throw it to the back of the hayshed.
3 [with object] Chess Attack (two pieces) simultaneously with one piece.
Example sentences
  • Black has just pushed his pawn to d5, forking White's Bishop and Knight.
  • When you forked my knight and king, that really was a good move.

Phrasal verbs

fork something over/out/up (or fork over/out/up)

informal Pay money for something, especially reluctantly.
Example sentences
  • You have forked the money out every month for years and years and now they don't want to know you, they will not cover you for the things which you need cover for due to age.
  • Even though 50 dollars seems steep, suck it up and fork it out for this or any of his other works.
  • Instead of forking over the cash, you can make many kitchen gadgets yourself.



Pronunciation: /ˈfôrkˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural forkfuls).
Example sentences
  • It tastes marvelously clean between forkfuls of spring greens in cherry tomato vinaigrette, which comes on the side.
  • I lifted up a forkful and let it drop back onto the plate.
  • Mac bit into a forkful of the scrambled eggs and found them mildly spiced with a flavor he couldn't name.


Old English forca, force (denoting an agricultural implement), based on Latin furca 'pitchfork, forked stick'; reinforced in Middle English by Anglo-Norman French furke (also from Latin furca).

  • Rather than things to eat your dinner with, forks were originally agricultural implements. The fork used for holding food dates from medieval times, when Anglo-Saxon table manners were presumably affected by Norman ways. The word is from Latin furca ‘pitchfork, forked stick’. A snake's divided tongue is often described as forked, and snakes have been symbols of deceit since the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. So to speak with forked tongue is to speak untruthfully. People have been forking out, or reluctantly paying money, since the 1830s or earlier. The phrase comes from the earlier literal meaning, ‘to divide or move with a fork’. An earlier use in connection with money is found in Morton's Fork although this is really an example of fork used for a dilemma in which either choice brings discredit. John Morton (c.1420–1500) was the Archbishop of Canterbury and minister of Henry VII who tried to levy forced loans by arguing that the rich could afford to pay, and so could those who lived frugally since they must have amassed savings.

Words that rhyme with fork

auk, baulk, Bork, caulk (US calk), chalk, cork, Dundalk, Falk, gawk, hawk, Hawke, nork, orc, outwalk, pork, squawk, stalk, stork, talk, torc, torque, walk, york

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fork

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