Monday, November 9, 2009


chopstick \ˈchäp-ˌstik\ noun: one of a pair of slender sticks held between thumb and fingers and used chiefly in Asian countries to lift food to the mouth

Etymology: Chinese Pidgin English chop fast + English stick

In The Secret Life of Words Henry Hitchings explains, “The utensils we call chopsticks are known to the Chinese as kwai-tsze, which literally means ‘nimble boys’. Chopsticks is a crude equivalent, partly inspired by the pidgen word chop, ‘quick’. (The pidgen English exclamation chop chop replicates the Chinese kwai kwai.)”

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