A two-pronged fork, a hay-fork, pitchfork, etc. (
Georg. i. 264
). The name is also given to a flesh-fork (Petron. 95
), and to any forked prop or stay—e. g. for vines
Georg. ii. 259
); for planks (Livy, i. 35
for fishingnets (Pliny , Pliny H. N.
lx. 9). Table-forks were not used by the
ancients, who took their food from the plate with their fingers, except in the case of
shellfish and eggs, for which they had a sort of combination fork and spoon. (See Cena
, p. 313, and Coclear
.) The diminutive Furcilla denotes a smaller fork,
but still a large one according to our notions.
As an instrument of punishment, furca
means a contrivance something
like a yoke passing around the back of the neck and down each arm. This the criminal or slave
wore while being whipped through the streets—whence Furcĭfer is an expression equivalent to our
“gallows-bird” (Plaut. Amphit.
i. 1, 132
, and often).
The word is also used of the gibbet or gallows (Dig.
). The part of a carriage-pole which
fastens into the axle.