Although the word fork dates back to about the eleventh century as the name of an implement used to pitch hay, the table fork was not used in England until 1611. It was then that a country squire named Thomas Coryate returned from a trip to Italy, where forks had been used since at least the eleventh century, bringing back with him the newfangled eating utensil and an enthusiasm for using it.

Coryate's countrymen, however, thought his zeal for eating with a fork was at best a foreign affectation and at worst an affront to God: he was mocked on the stage for his effete reluctance to touch his food with his hands, and he was castigated in churches for putting a devilish fork between himself and the food that his Lord so graciously gave him.

Perhaps, however, much of this uproar was merely sour grapes, since it was evident that Coryate, unlike everyone else in England, was now able to eat a meal without smearing it all over his hands, clothes, and table cloth. In time, therefore, reason prevailed and the dinner fork did catch on in England. In origin, the word fork derives from the Latin furca, meaning a two-pronged fork; the diminutive of furca - furcula, meaning little fork - was adopted by ornithologists as being the anotomical name for what everyone else calls a wishbone.

Source: Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities.

A fork is a tactical theme in chess. It occurs when one moves a piece so that it attacks two pieces at once. One's opponent can only move one of the pieces, so the other one is easy pickings. Here is a game with a sample fork:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Bc5
4. Ng5 d6?
5. Nxf7

This is a knight fork. The knight simultaneously attacks both the queen and the rook. When black moves one, white can still capture the other. However, this does not mean more powerful threats cannot be made. Let's see what happens if white gets greedy.

5. .. Qf6
6. Nxh8 Qxf7#

FoRK is one of the most eclectic mailing lists I've been on. FoRK stands for Friends of Rohit Khare. All kinds of folks have been on and off the list. Their names are too numerous to list here.

Their motto being SHOW ME THE BITS!.

Also, fork is a posix function call that creates a child process that differs from the parent process only in its PID and PPID, and in the fact that resource utilizations are set to 0. File locks and pending signals are not inherited.

When I was taking Operating Systems at Boston College, we were told we were not allowed to run our homeworks involving fork on the main server--we had to run them on the local workstations (people had an uncanny ability to stick their fork in an infinite loop). We furthered this restriction by telling people there was an Adult corner of the computer lab--and only there were you able to fork without regard for other people.

To use a nondestructive form of uploading to create an infomorph version of youself while still keeping the old biological version.

-Back to the Transhumanist Terminology metanode

A fork is a split in whatever you want. Some examples:
A fork in the road. (Which do you choose? I suggest the one less traveled.)
The front or rear fork of the motorcycle. (One piece of metal that essentially is split in two to attach to both sides of the wheel axle.)
The fork as an eating utensil. (Usually has one solid handle and three or four splits for the prongs.)
The infamous pitch fork. (Looks like a large eating utensil but is useful for loading hay, grass, and other stringy objects.)
In the J programming language, a fork is the special name given to a composite verb made by concatenating three verbs. The general format for a monadic fork follows (f and h are monadic, while g is dyadic, and v is some noun):

(f g h) v is identical to (f v) g (h v)

For example:

The concept of a fork also generalizes to dyadic verbs in a train:

x (f g h) v is identical to (x f v) g (x h v)

Again, an example:

The most important thing to note about the concept of a fork is that it allows extended chaining of verbs in a meaningful way, because a fork can also be a component of a fork (or a hook, which, as noted above, is just a special case of a fork).

For example, to find the distance of each element from the mean (an important step in finding the variance and standard deviation) we just do it:

(- +/ % #) v is
(] - (+/ % #)) v is
(] - (+/ % #)) v is
v - ((+/ % #) v) is
v - ((+/v) % (#v)) is
the pairwise subtraction of elements in v with their mean.

More information on extended chaining of J verbs can be found at train.

foreground = F = fork bomb


In the open-source community, a fork is what occurs when two (or more) versions of a software package's source code are being developed in parallel which once shared a common code base, and these multiple versions of the source code have irreconcilable differences between them. This should not be confused with a development branch, which may later be folded back into the original source code base. Nor should it be confused with what happens when a new distribution of Linux or some other distribution is created, because that largely assembles pieces than can and will be used in other distributions without conflict.

Forking is uncommon; in fact, it is so uncommon that individual instances loom large in hacker folklore. Notable in this class were the, the GCC/EGCS fork (later healed by a merger) and the forks among the FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD operating systems.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Our ways of eating and our common trinity of knife, fork and spoon have only been in existence for a surprisingly short time. In fact, chopsticks and fingers still have a numerical advantage :)

Of course, precursors of knives, forks and spoons have existed since prehistoric times, but only to prepare the meal, not to eat it.

In the antique, people ate with their fingers, as they did in the middle ages. Many people had an all purpose knife with them, which they used to chop up their food. Wooden spoons were also common.

But where was the fork? In fact, the first mentioning of a fork dates from the year 1023. But even in 1518 Martin Luther exclaimed: "Gott behüte mich vor Gäbelchen!" (May God protect me from forks!) Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote in 1530: "What is served is to be taken up with three fingers or a piece of bread". Last not least, at his grand court in Versailles in the 17th century the "sun king" Louis XIV allegedly "seized the ragout with his paws".

Resistance against the fork came, interestingly, from the Catholic Church, the reason being that it was seen as an attribute of the Devil (the trident is actually the symbol of Neptune/Poseidon, but it is true that Satan is also often depicted wielding it). A funny argument was that God gave man the fingers, so use them! Still, in the course of the 17th century a minority started using forks, but that was seen as unmanly and finicky.

That was paradoxically also the reason for its breakthrough in the beginning of the 18th century. Suddenly it was elegant to use a fork, and the cutlery could not be ostentatious enough. By the latter half of the 19th century eating with knife and fork was common in all classes of society and a sign of civilization and culture.


With regard to bicycles, the fork is the device which connects the handlebars to the front wheel. For such a simple device, forks come in many, many different forms and are integral to the handling and overall 'feel' of the bike.

Touring bikes and consumer gear will often have a bent fork, sloping away from the rider. This has the effect of dampening road vibration by allowing a fair amount of flex up and down that is not directly transferred to the rider's hands.

Racing bikes, especially those designed for sprinting, will often have straighter or straight forks, this allows the most direct transfer of power and the best handling, although the rider will feel each and every bump in the road below him.

The material of the fork is also important, with steel and carbon fibre both being popular for their 'comfort' as well as good power transfer. Steel is less popular as it is much heavier and isn't as stiff as the alternatives. Aluminium is popular where performance is more important then comfort, as it is fairly stiff, and where carbon fibre may be too expensive.

Fork (?), n. [AS. forc, fr. L. furca. Cf. Fourch, Furcate.]


An instrument consisting consisting of a handle with a shank terminating in two or more prongs or tines, which are usually of metal, parallel and slightly curved; -- used from piercing, holding, taking up, or pitching anything.


Anything furcate or like of a fork in shape, or furcate at the extremity; as, a tuning fork.


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.

Let it fall . . . though the fork invade The region of my heart. Shak.

A thunderbolt with three forks. Addison.


The place where a division or a union occurs; the angle or opening between two branches or limbs; as, the fork of a river, a tree, or a road.


The gibbet.


Bp. Butler.

Fork beam Shipbuilding, a half beam to support a deck, where hatchways occur. -- Fork chuck Wood Turning, a lathe center having two prongs for driving the work. -- Fork head. (a) The barbed head of an arrow. (b) The forked end of a rod which forms part of a knuckle joint. -- In fork. Mining A mine is said to be in fork, or an engine to "have the water in fork," when all the water is drawn out of the mine. Ure. -- The forks of a rivera road, the branches into which it divides, or which come together to form it; the place where separation or union takes place.


© Webster 1913.

Fork, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Forked (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Forking.]


To shoot into blades, as corn.

The corn beginneth to fork. Mortimer. 1


To divide into two or more branches; as, a road, a tree, or a stream forks.


© Webster 1913.

Fork, v. t.

To raise, or pitch with a fork, as hay; to dig or turn over with a fork, as the soil.

Forking the sheaves on the high-laden cart. Prof. Wilson.

To fork over ∨ out, to hand or pay over, as money. [Slang]

G. Eliot.


© Webster 1913.

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