From Middle English forke (“digging fork”), from Old English force, forca (“forked instrument used to torture”), from Proto-Germanic *furkǭ, *furkô (“fork”), from Latin furca (“pitchfork, forked stake", also "gallows, beam, stake, support post, yoke”), of uncertain origin. The Middle English word was later reinforced by Anglo-Norman, Old Northern French forque (= Old French forche whence French fourche), also from the Latin. Cognate also with North Frisian forck (“fork”), Dutch vork (“fork”), Danish fork (“fork”), German Forke (“pitchfork”). Displaced native gafol, ġeafel, ġeafle (“fork”), from Old English.
In its primary sense of "fork", Latin furca appears to be derived from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰerk(ʷ)-, *ǵʰerg(ʷ)- (“fork”), although the development of the -c- is difficult to explain. In other senses this derivation is unlikely. For these, perhaps it is connected to Proto-Germanic *furkaz, *firkalaz (“stake, stick, pole, post”), from Proto-Indo-European *perg- (“pole, post”). If so, this would relate the word to Old English forclas (“bolt”) (plural), Old Saxon ferkal (“lock, bolt, bar”), Old Norse forkr (“pole, staff, stick”), Norwegian fork (“stick, bat”), Swedish fork (“pole”).
- A pronged tool having a long straight handle, used for digging, lifting, throwing etc.
- (obsolete) A gallows.
- A utensil with spikes used to put solid food into the mouth, or to hold food down while cutting.
- A tuning fork.
- An intersection in a road or path where one road is split into two.
- One of the parts into which anything is furcated or divided; a prong; a branch of a stream, a road, etc.; a barbed point, as of an arrow.
- A point where a waterway, such as a river, splits and goes two (or more) different directions.
- (geography) Used in the names of some river tributaries, e.g. West Fork White River and East Fork White River, joining together to form the White River of Indiana
- (figuratively) A point in time where one has to make a decision between two life paths.
- (chess) The simultaneous attack of two adversary pieces with one single attacking piece (especially a knight).
- (computer science) A splitting-up of an existing process into itself and a child process executing parts of the same program.
- (computer science) An event where development of some free software or open-source software is split into two or more separate projects.
- (computer science) The, or one of the, software project(s) that underwent changes in such an event; a software project split off from a main project.
- (Britain) Crotch.
- (colloquial) A forklift.
- The individual blades of a forklift.
- (cycling) In a bicycle, the portion of the frameset holding the front wheel, allowing the rider to steer and balance.
- The can be equipped with a suspension on mountain bikes.
fork was also found in the following language(s): Danish and Dutch