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. See diag. under lever escapement.
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.
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!

before 1000; Middle English forke, Old English forca < Latin furca fork, gallows, yoke

forkless, adjective
forklike, adjective
unfork, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fork (fɔːk)
1.  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
2.  an agricultural tool consisting of a handle and three or four metal prongs, used for lifting, digging, etc
3.  a pronged part of any machine, device, etc
4.  of a road, river, etc
 a.  a division into two or more branches
 b.  the point where the division begins
 c.  such a branch
5.  chiefly (US) the main tributary of a river
6.  chess a position in which two pieces are forked
7.  (tr) to pick up, dig, etc, with a fork
8.  (tr) chess to place (two enemy pieces) under attack with one of one's own pieces, esp a knight
9.  (tr) to make into the shape of a fork
10.  (intr) to be divided into two or more branches
11.  to take one or other branch at a fork in a road, river, etc
[Old English forca, from Latin furca]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. forca "forked instrument used by torturers," from L. furca "pitchfork," 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 O.N.Fr. forque, from the L. word. The verb "to divide in branches"
is from the noun. 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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