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[fawrk] /fɔrk/
an instrument having two or more prongs or tines, for holding, lifting, etc., as an implement for handling food or any of various agricultural tools.
something resembling or suggesting this in form.
Machinery. yoke1 (def 9).
a division into branches.
the point or part at which a thing, as a river or a road, divides into branches:
Bear left at the fork in the road.
either of the branches into which a thing divides.
Horology. (in a lever escapement) the forked end of the lever engaging with the ruby pin.
a principal tributary of a river.
the support of the front wheel axles of a bicycle or motorcycle, having the shape of a two-pronged fork.
the barbed head of an arrow.
verb (used with object)
to pierce, raise, pitch, dig, etc., with a fork.
to make into the form of a fork.
Chess. to maneuver so as to place (two opponent's pieces) under simultaneous attack by the same piece.
Digital Technology. to copy (the source code) from a piece of software and develop a new version independently, with the result of producing two unique pieces of software.
verb (used without object)
to divide into branches:
Turn left where the road forks.
to turn as indicated at a fork in a road, path, etc.:
Fork left and continue to the top of the hill.
Verb phrases
fork over/out/up, Informal. to hand over; deliver; pay:
Fork over the money you owe me!
Origin of fork
before 1000; Middle English forke, Old English forca < Latin furca fork, gallows, yoke
Related forms
forkless, adjective
forklike, adjective
unfork, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for forking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They passed the bend and the forking trail loomed up amidst the shadows.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • You are at the forking of the roads, the narrow and the broad.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • He was gobbling his last plantain, and forking up along with it most respectable slices of cheese, when I entered.

    Tom Cringle's Log Michael Scott
  • Just beneath at the first forking of the boughs a candle burned.

    Bride of the Mistletoe James Lane Allen
  • In short, the watering does all the work of forking over by hand much better and much more cheaply.

    The Elements of Agriculture George E. Waring
  • Bifurcation: a forking or division into two: the point at which a forking occurs.

  • They must be very well mixed with the soil by a thorough spading and forking.

  • Do some of us still hesitate at this forking of the roads, irresolute?

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
  • He came to this forking of the road, and the battle was a fierce one, for self dies hard.

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
British Dictionary definitions for forking


a small usually metal implement consisting of two, three, or four long thin prongs on the end of a handle, used for lifting food to the mouth or turning it in cooking, etc
an agricultural tool consisting of a handle and three or four metal prongs, used for lifting, digging, etc
a pronged part of any machine, device, etc
(of a road, river, etc)
  1. a division into two or more branches
  2. the point where the division begins
  3. such a branch
(mainly US) the main tributary of a river
(chess) a position in which two pieces are forked
(transitive) to pick up, dig, etc, with a fork
(transitive) (chess) to place (two enemy pieces) under attack with one of one's own pieces, esp a knight
(transitive) to make into the shape of a fork
(intransitive) to be divided into two or more branches
to take one or other branch at a fork in a road, river, etc
Derived Forms
forkful, noun
Word Origin
Old English forca, from Latin furca
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for forking



Old English forca "forked instrument used by torturers," a Germanic borrowing (cf. Old Norse forkr) from Latin furca "pitchfork; fork used in cooking," of uncertain origin.

Table forks were not generally used in England until 15c. The word is first attested in this sense in English in a will of 1463, probably from Old North French forque (Old French furche, Modern French fourche), from the Latin word. Of rivers, from 1753; of roads, from 1839.


"to divide in branches, go separate ways" (early 14c.), from fork (n.). Related: Forked; forking. The slang verb phrase fork up (or out) "give over" is from 1831.



"to divide in branches, go separate ways" (early 14c.), from fork (n.). Related: Forked; forking. The slang verb phrase fork up (or out) "give over" is from 1831.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for forking



Wretched; disgusting: I won't eat this forking stuff


Very; extremely: He sounded forking mad

[1940s+; a euphemism for fucking]



To cheat; maltreat; take advantage of; fuck, shaft: I hoped he'd take care of us, but we got forked

[1940s+; a euphemism for fuck]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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