- fork (n.)
- Old English forca "forked instrument used by torturers," a Germanic borrowing (cognate with 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.
- fork (v.)
- "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.