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[pich-fawrk] /ˈpɪtʃˌfɔrk/
a large, long-handled fork for manually lifting and pitching hay, stalks of grain, etc.
pitchforks, Northern U.S. beggar's-lice, especially the achenes of Spanish needles.
verb (used with object)
to pitch or throw with or as if with a pitchfork.
Origin of pitchfork
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1425-75; See origin at pitch1, fork Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pitchfork
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One badgered private assaulted him violently with a pitchfork, and suffered two years' imprisonment for that misdemeanour.

    The Making Of A Novelist David Christie Murray
  • She stood still by her shocks, leaning on her pitchfork, watching me as I came.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • Finally, he got the pitchfork, and for a moment—what a moment that was!

    Careers of Danger and Daring Cleveland Moffett
  • She wears her clothes as if they were thrown on with a pitchfork.

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
  • It was hurled by a hind with a pitchfork; another and another came flying after it till the room was like a clean farm yard.

British Dictionary definitions for pitchfork


a long-handled fork with two or three long curved tines for lifting, turning, or tossing hay
verb (transitive)
to use a pitchfork on (something)
to thrust (someone) unwillingly into a position
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 pitchfork

mid-14c., altered (by influence of pichen "to throw, thrust;" see pitch (v.1)) from Middle English pic-forken (c.1200), from pik (see pike (n.4)) + fork (n.). The verb is attested from 1837.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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