Etymology
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fork (n.)
Old English forca, force "pitchfork, forked instrument, forked weapon," from a Germanic borrowing (Old Frisian forke, Dutch vork, Old Norse forkr, Danish fork) of Latin furca "two-pronged fork; pitchfork; fork used in cooking," a word of uncertain origin. Old English also had forcel "pitchfork." From c. 1200 as "forked stake or post" (as a gallows or prop).

Table forks are said to have been not used among the nobility in England until 15c. and not common until early 17c. The word is first attested in this sense in English in an inventory from 1430, probably from Old North French forque (Old French furche, Modern French fourche), from the Latin word. Of rivers, from 1753; of roads, from 1839. As a bicycle part from 1871. As a chess attack on two pieces simultaneously by one (usually a knight), it dates from 1650s. In old slang, forks "the two forefingers" is from 1812.
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fork (v.)
early 14c., "to divide in branches, go separate ways," also "disagree, be inconsistent," from fork (n.). Transitive meaning "raise or pitch with a fork" is from 1812. Related: Forked; forking. The slang verb phrase fork (something) over is from 1839 (fork out) "give over" is from 1831). Forking (n.) in the forensic sense "disagreement among witnesses" is from c. 1400.
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forklift (n.)
also fork-lift, by 1953, short for fork-lift truck (1946), from fork (n.) + lift (n.).
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fourchette (n.)
1754, in reference to anatomical structures, from French fourchette, diminutive of fourche "a fork" (see fork (n.)).
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forked (adj.)

c. 1300, "branched or divided in two parts," past-participle adjective from fork (v.). Of roads from 1520s; from 1550s as "pointing more than one way." In 16c.-17c. sometimes with a suggestion of "cuckold," on the notion of "horned." Forked tongue as a figure of duplicitous speech is from 1885, American English. Double tongue in the same sense is from 15c.

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pitchfork (n.)

"fork for lifting and pitching" (hay, etc.), commonly with a long handle and two prongs, 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.2)) + fork (n.). The verb, "to lift or throw with a pitchfork," is attested from 1837.

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furcate (adj.)
"forked, branching like the prongs of a fork," 1819, from Medieval Latin furcatus, from Latin furca "a two-pronged fork," a word of unknown etymology. As a verb, from 1828 (implied in furcated).
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bifurcate (v.)
"to divide into two forks or branches," 1610s, from Medieval Latin bifurcatus, from Latin bi- "two" (see bi-) + furca "two-pronged fork, fork-shaped instrument," a word of unknown etymology. Related: Bifurcated; bifurcating.
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