See also: Spoon

English Edit

English Wikipedia has an article on:
A table spoon (sense 1)
A fishing spoon (sense 6)
A hand grenade with spoon (sense 9, lever) at right

Pronunciation Edit

Etymology 1 Edit

From Middle English spoon, spoune, spone, spon (spoon, chip of wood), from Old English spōn (sliver, chip of wood, shaving), from Proto-West Germanic *spānu, from Proto-Germanic *spēnuz (chip, flake, shaving), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peh₂- (chip, shaving, log, length of wood).

Cognate with Scots spun, spon (spoon, shingle), West Frisian spoen, Dutch spaan (chip, flinders), German Span (chip, flake, shaving), Swedish spån (chip, flake), Faroese spónur (wood chip; spoon), Ancient Greek σφήν (sphḗn, wedge)(though the connection to the Greek is likely impossible by modern reconstructions of PIE). Eclipsed non-native Middle English cuculer and coclear (spoon) both ultimately borrowed from the Latin.

The "metaphoric unit of personal energy" sense was coined by writer and disability advocate Christine Miserandino in 2003 (see spoon theory).[1]

Noun Edit

spoon (plural spoons)

  1. An implement for eating or serving; a scooped utensil whose long handle is straight, in contrast to a ladle.
  2. An implement for stirring food while being prepared; a wooden spoon.
  3. A measure that will fit into a spoon; a spoonful.
    • 1978, Illinois. Supreme Court, Reports of Cases at Law and in Chancery..., page 76:
      While Ms. Fly was with Sharon in the kitchen, Sharon asked the defendant for a “spoon of drugs.” Defendant refused and stated that he did not know where drugs could be obtained.
  4. (golf, archaic) A wooden-headed golf club with moderate loft, similar to the modern three wood.
  5. (slang) An oar.
    • 1877, The Country, volumes 1-2, page 339:
      To this class college rowing offers no attractions or place, nor are they generally looked upon by the artists of the "spoons" as a desirable addition []
  6. (fishing) A type of metal lure resembling the concave head of a tablespoon.
  7. (dentistry, informal) A spoon excavator.
  8. (figurative, slang, archaic) A simpleton, a spooney.
    • 1872, George Eliot, “Chapter 23”, in Middlemarch:
      To get all the advantages of being with men of this sort, you must know how to draw your inferences and not be a spoon who takes things literally.
  9. (US, military) A safety handle on a hand grenade, a trigger.
  10. (slang) A metaphoric unit of finite physical and mental energy available for daily activities, especially in the context of living with chronic illness or disability.
    • 2014 March 12, “The Spoon Theory – Rationing my Legs & Energy”, in Spoonie Sophia[2], Wordpress:
      We therefore have to meticulously plan out each day with the small amount of spoons we have. Each task will cost us at least one spoon.
    • 2015, Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things[3], page 241:
      You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that's lots of damn spoons . . . but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning.
    • 2016, Tymber Dalton, Two Against Nature, page 86:
      Once you're out of spoons for the day, that's it, no more energy. So when you get down to your last couple of spoons for the day, you have to decide, what's the priority?
    • 2018, Donna Alward, Nancy Cassidy, Adulting 101: Writing Through Life and Other Adventures[4]:
      But if you're running low on spoons, take some time out to recharge.
    • 2018, Dennis J. DeWitt, Zoe Died. What Now?: Finding Hope in Times of Loss[5]:
      He has frequent dizzy spells. His friend has Asperger syndrome. Both relate and support each other when they have run out of spoons.
Hyponyms Edit
Derived terms Edit
Translations Edit

Verb Edit

spoon (third-person singular simple present spoons, present participle spooning, simple past and past participle spooned)

  1. To serve using a spoon; to transfer (something) with a spoon.
    Sarah spooned some apple sauce onto her plate.
    • 1958, Anthony Burgess, The Enemy in the Blanket (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 365:
      Talbot champed away, finally spooning in resignation with the tinned fruit salad, calm of mind reached with the last piece of cheese, all passion spent in the third drained coffee-cup.
  2. (intransitive, dated) To flirt; to make advances; to court, to interact romantically or amorously.
  3. (transitive or intransitive, informal, of persons) To lie nestled front-to-back, following the contours of the bodies, in a manner reminiscent of stacked spoons.
    (transitive or intransitive, informal, of persons, by extension) To have sex in such a position.
  4. (tennis, golf, croquet) To hit (the ball) weakly, pushing it with a lifting motion, instead of striking with an audible knock.
    • 2012 June 28, Jamie Jackson, “Wimbledon 2012: Lukas Rosol shocked by miracle win over Rafael Nadal”, in the Guardian[6]:
      Rosol spurned the chance to finish off a shallow second serve by spooning into the net, and a wild forehand took the set to 5-4, with the native of Prerov required to hold his serve for victory.
  5. (intransitive) To fish with a concave spoon bait.
  6. (transitive) To catch by fishing with a concave spoon bait.
Derived terms Edit
Translations Edit

See also Edit

Etymology 2 Edit

Uncertain. Compare spoom.

Verb Edit

spoon (third-person singular simple present spoons, present participle spooning, simple past and past participle spooned)

  1. Alternative form of spoom
Derived terms Edit
Translations Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Miserandino, Christine (2003), “The Spoon Theory”, in But You Don't Look Sick[1], retrieved 12 October 2022

Anagrams Edit

Middle English Edit

Noun Edit


  1. Alternative form of spone