AskDefine | Define cutlery

Dictionary Definition

cutlery

Noun

1 a cutting implement; a tool for cutting [syn: cutter, cutting tool]
2 tableware implements for cutting and eating food [syn: eating utensil]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From coutelerie (modern: coutellerie).

Pronunciation

  • /ˈkʌt.lə.ɹi/

Noun

  1. A collective ensemble of eating and serving utensils such as knives, forks and spoons.

Synonyms

Translations

eating and serving utensils

Extensive Definition

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Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the original meaning of the word. Since silverware suggests the presence of silver, the term tableware has come into use.

Principal meaning

The major items of cutlery in the Western world are the knife, fork and spoon. In recent times, utensils have been made combining the functionality of pairs of cutlery are the spork (spoon / fork), spife (spoon / knife), and knork (knife / fork).
Traditionally, good quality cutlery was made from silver (hence the U.S. name), though steel was always used for more utilitarian knives, and pewter was used for some cheaper items, especially spoons. From the nineteenth century, Electroplated Nickel Silver (EPNS) was used as a cheaper substitute; nowadays, most cutlery, including quality designs, is made from stainless steel. Another alternative is melchior, a nickel and copper alloy, which can also sometiems contain manganese.
Plastic cutlery is made for disposable use, and is frequently used outdoors (camping, excursions, and BBQ's for instance), at fast-food or take-away outlets, or provided with airline meals.

Etymology

The word cutler derives from the Middle English word 'cuteler' and this in turn derives from from Old French 'coutelier' which comes from 'coutel'; meaning knife.
The ancient mayan indians used the word 'cotlar' to refer to the fork like utencils they used in dining.

History

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ax, blade, cold steel, cutter, dagger, dining utensils, edge tools, flat silver, flatware, forks, hollow ware, knife, knives, naked steel, pigsticker, point, puncturer, sharpener, silver, silver plate, silverware, spoons, stainless-steel ware, steel, sword, tablespoon, tableware, teaspoon, toad sticker, whittle
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