Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An instrument, implement, or container used domestically, especially in a kitchen. See Synonyms at tool.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An instrument or device for domestic use, in the kitchen, or in war.
  • n. A small hand tool or material-handling implement specialized for specific types of processing such as is used in the kitchen or a laboratory.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is used; an instrument; an implement; especially, an instrument or vessel used in a kitchen, or in domestic and farming business.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An instrument or implement: as, utensils of war; now, more especially, an instrument or vessel in common use in a kitchen, dairy, or the like, as distinguished from agricultural implements and mechanical tools.
  • n. Synonyms Implement, Instrument, etc. See tool.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an implement for practical use (especially in a household)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French utensile, from Latin ūtēnsilia, utensils, from neuter pl. of ūtēnsilis, fit for use, from ūtī, to use.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ultimately from Latin utensilis ("usable"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The best all around cast iron cooking utensil is the dutch oven, the real ones that have legs and a rim around the lid to hold coals.

    What is the best cast iron skillet for deep frying mr. walleye on shore lunches.

  • I'm not the sort of pencil connoisseur to use pretentious French words (whoops -- too late) and imply that using the ideal writing utensil is some kind of transcendental experience.

    Archive 2008-05-01

  • This utensil is essentially a sauce bowl, the salsa being prepared by grinding the ingredients together.

    The Mexican Kitchen, Heart Of The Home: Part I - Cooking Equipment, Modern And Traditional

  • It will be found always covered, whenever the utensil is not empty, by condensed offensive moisture.

    Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

  • But it actually made me a good field interviewer because I knew nothing about farming and other aspects of rural life and this ignorance actually legitimized my rather mundane questions about such things as what the farmers called the utensil they use to fry eggs with, the machinery they use to reap their harvests, and what they call their animals.

    Language Log

  • The utensil was a 75th birthday present from artist Ken Marshall to his friend Bob Stane, an area coffeehouse/showroom owner.

    AroundTheCapitol.com

  • However, you are not allowed to do it because you might get confused and also kasher a non-kosher utensil, which is not allowed.

    Hirhurim - Musings

  • The utensil was a combination knife/fork/spoon that the child had planned to use to eat his lunch.

    We Blog A Lot

  • There were six of them with a ribbon tied around their reed-thin handles, some kind of utensil, though it took me a minute to figure out what.

    Charlotte Safavi: Iced Tea

  • PS I have a question, so what kind of utensil vase do you have exactly?

    Blueberry Heart Tarts (well, almost)

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I have honestly heard this used, non-ironically, as a penis euphemism.

    July 18, 2008