tuning fork



a steel instrument consisting of a stem with two prongs, producing a musical tone of definite, constant pitch when struck, and serving as a standard for tuning musical instruments, making acoustical experiments, and the like.

Origin of tuning fork

First recorded in 1765–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tuning fork

Contemporary Examples of tuning fork

Historical Examples of tuning fork

  • As for Jacob, he has nothing but his tuning-fork and a seat with the rest.

  • These requirements are best met by a tuning-fork of not too low a pitch.


    Cecil Warburton

  • The twang of the tuning-fork was drowned by a succession of cries.

    Old Caravan Days

    Mary Hartwell Catherwood

  • Like his ancestor at Dunbar, he struck his tuning-fork on his sword.

  • This he did at the beginning of every verse by striking a tuning-fork on his bloody sword.

British Dictionary definitions for tuning fork

tuning fork


a two-pronged metal fork that when struck produces a pure note of constant specified pitch. It is used to tune musical instruments and in acoustics
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

Word Origin and History for tuning fork

1799, from gerundive of tune (v.) + fork (n.). Invented 1711 by John Shore.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper