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Old 05-12-2017, 04:15 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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How widespread is "tine"?

Today, two English speaking Canadians (one from Montreal, one from Toronto) astonished me by never having heard the word "tine". I won't say it is the commonest word in my ideolect, but both my wife (from NYC) and I (from Philly) are certainly familiar with it. So I am curious now. Is it used, say, in Idaho? Across the pond. And it you don't use it, what do you call the tines of a fork? Prongs, maybe?
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:26 PM
blueslipper blueslipper is offline
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I know that it's called a tine. But only as a trivia answer. Doesn't come up in conversation.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:30 PM
ftg ftg is online now
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Quite common, IME.

Mrs. FtG watches a lot of cooking shows and I know many of them use the term, e.g., Alton Brown. Nothing regional or specialized about it.

I've known it from a quite young age. You learn about forks, you learn about tines.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:33 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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My tines be long
My tines be short
My tines end ere their first report

(A riddle.)

I think "prong" is probably more common, such as a "multi-pronged approach" and an electrical plug is described as having prongs. But I'm definitely familiar with it, since childhood. I was also that kid who liked reading a lot.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:33 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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If a couple of minutes ago you held up a fork to me and asked me what the little pointy things are called, I may or may not have stumbled trying to come up with it, but when I saw the word "tine" I automatically interpreted it to be the pointy bits on a fork. So the word is in my vocabulary, but not my active one.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:36 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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I'll add, "tine" dates back to the 12th century per Merriam-Webster while "prong" goes back to the 15th so "tine" is centuries older, if that helps.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:44 PM
CurtC CurtC is online now
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In Texas - common enough that pretty much everyone knows what it means, would be my guess. Way more common that "aglet."
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:45 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Tine is either the pointy bits of a fort, or the pointy bits of a pitchfork. It's just not a real conversation hog... sort of like... bezel or chamfer, or cotter pin or nit or zygote.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:46 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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I've used and heard it in conversation, and for forks, it's a "tine." I'm not sure I would call them "prongs" for whatever reason--it's just a fixed phrase in my head, I guess. "Prongs" I think of as bigger, somehow. I realize the definitions are basically synonymous in this context, but that's how my mind thinks of them.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:56 PM
RobDog RobDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
... Across the pond ...
Across the pond, one should know what a tine is, and that a fish fork has three of them, otherwise one would be identified as an irredeemable oik who would probably drink from the finger bowl and use ghastly words such as "toilet" and "serviette".

Slightly more seriously, "tine" is probably fairly well understood by the middle classes and upwards, and by crossword fans.

Last edited by RobDog; 05-12-2017 at 04:57 PM.
  #11  
Old 05-12-2017, 04:57 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
Today, two English speaking Canadians (one from Montreal, one from Toronto) astonished me by never having heard the word "tine". I won't say it is the commonest word in my ideolect, but both my wife (from NYC) and I (from Philly) are certainly familiar with it. So I am curious now. Is it used, say, in Idaho? Across the pond.
In the glens, when night falls and the mist rolls in, we speak of little else.
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:06 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
I'll add, "tine" dates back to the 12th century per Merriam-Webster while "prong" goes back to the 15th so "tine" is centuries older, if that helps.
Oh, so that is what the youngsters call them now.

I am from the Deep South and live in New England. I know what tines are and almost always have to the best of my memory. I think most Americans do. What else are you going to call them should the rare need arise? Those pointy sticks of metal? Canadian and American English aren't that different. The OP probably just ran across some Canadians with a less than stellar English vocabulary.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 05-12-2017 at 05:09 PM.
  #13  
Old 05-12-2017, 05:18 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Oh, so that is what the youngsters call them now.

I am from the Deep South and live in New England. I know what tines are and almost always have to the best of my memory. I think most Americans do. What else are you going to call them should the rare need arise? Those pointy sticks of metal? Canadian and American English aren't that different. The OP probably just ran across some Canadians with a less than stellar English vocabulary.
This Canadian agrees. Tine is, or should be, common enough in any English dialect.

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Old 05-12-2017, 05:21 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
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Some farm equipment have tines so I'd say it's a fairly common term
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:43 PM
Ornery Bob Ornery Bob is offline
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In the silver set we had when I was growing up, the salad forks had three tines and dinner forks had four and one must understand this. Otherwise, one would do a poor job of setting the table and mother would not be pleased.

Seems like parents hardly teach manners these days, let alone the finer points of table settings.

Now get off my lawn, you kids!
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:59 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is offline
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We have a restaurant called Knife and/& Time here in Chicago. I haven't been to it, though.

http://www.knifeandtine.com/
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:34 PM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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As a Canadian born in Toronto and raised in Montreal I certainly know what a tine is, but I suspect I could find several dunces who wouldn't know the word.
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:10 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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They never heard that Jimi Croce song: If I could put tine in a bottle...
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:27 PM
Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is offline
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In my experience, tines are usually parallel and not widespread, at all.
  #20  
Old 05-12-2017, 08:15 PM
yabob yabob is online now
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Does the river Tyne have a fork in it?
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Old 05-12-2017, 09:14 PM
HipGnosis HipGnosis is offline
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Does the river Tyne have a fork in it?
Now that right there is the fundamental crux of a good riddle!
But it would have to be spoken, not written.
  #22  
Old 05-12-2017, 09:22 PM
Atamasama Atamasama is offline
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They never heard that Jimi Croce song: If I could put tine in a bottle...
Have you had a Scarborough Fork?

Parsley, sage, and rosemary on tines...
  #23  
Old 05-13-2017, 01:35 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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Does the river Tyne have a fork in it?
Can a tine have a fork? Does a toe have a foot?
  #24  
Old 05-13-2017, 04:56 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Common in UK English (much more likely to be readily understood than aglet)
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:10 AM
Spoons Spoons is offline
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I'm from Toronto originally. I know what a tine is, as did my friends there.
  #26  
Old 05-13-2017, 06:20 AM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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It's a common word to me. Don't have much cause to use it in casual conversation, but it's not obscure.
  #27  
Old 05-13-2017, 06:44 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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Tine is also used for the forks on a forklift , and the verticals of a ladder.
  #28  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:01 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
If a couple of minutes ago you held up a fork to me and asked me what the little pointy things are called, I may or may not have stumbled trying to come up with it, but when I saw the word "tine" I automatically interpreted it to be the pointy bits on a fork. So the word is in my vocabulary, but not my active one.
The same for me. I don't think I've ever actually heard someone say the word.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 05-13-2017 at 07:02 AM.
  #29  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:12 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is online now
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In my experience, tines are usually parallel and not widespread, at all.
Sez you. (It's Victorian, of course.)
  #30  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:17 AM
Bones Daley Bones Daley is offline
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Tine is also used for the forks on a forklift , and the verticals of a ladder.
Huh ? I have never heard the verticals of a ladder referred to as anything other than the stiles ... and the steps you stand on are called the rungs

"Stiles" is probably as obscure to the average person in the street as "tines" , but I think most people would be familiar with "rungs".

Last edited by Bones Daley; 05-13-2017 at 07:18 AM.
  #31  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:25 AM
spifflog spifflog is offline
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While I don't use "tine" very often at all, I do use it more than "commonest."

Last edited by spifflog; 05-13-2017 at 07:26 AM.
  #32  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:30 AM
obfusciatrist obfusciatrist is offline
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It is the only word I can think of for "what would you call the pointy extensions on a fork." But I don't think I've ever heard it used for anything else.

(Grew up in Washington and spent whole life there, HI, or CA.)
  #33  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:33 AM
don't ask don't ask is online now
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It is certainly far more commonly used than ideolect. It is even found in Google 200 times more often than idiolect.
  #34  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:39 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Common term IME. I know I've yelled, "Who the fuck left this here tines up?" regarding a pitchfork in the barn.
  #35  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:42 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Bones Daley View Post
Huh ? I have never heard the verticals of a ladder referred to as anything other than the stiles ... and the steps you stand on are called the rungs

"Stiles" is probably as obscure to the average person in the street as "tines" , but I think most people would be familiar with "rungs".
Which styles of cabinets do not have stiles?

Last edited by John Mace; 05-13-2017 at 07:42 AM.
  #36  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:57 AM
Bones Daley Bones Daley is offline
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Which styles of cabinets do not have stiles?
cabinets with flush (non-panelled ) doors.
  #37  
Old 05-13-2017, 07:58 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Bones Daley View Post
Huh ? I have never heard the verticals of a ladder referred to as anything other than the stiles ... and the steps you stand on are called the rungs

"Stiles" is probably as obscure to the average person in the street as "tines" , but I think most people would be familiar with "rungs".
Yeah, I couldn't have told you they were called "stiles." Not sure I know that word, but I am very familiar with "tines" (and, of course, "rungs.")
  #38  
Old 05-13-2017, 08:23 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Interesting. The one from Toronto (pronounced Tranah, BTW) has a PhD in math and is a coauthor of several of my papers, so not exactly a country hick. The other one informant was not highly educated, but still seems intelligent enough.

I did know the word "stile", but only in connection with barrier to keep livestock, but not people, out. And of course, there is "turnstile", obviously related.

Leaving a rake tines up is a real no-no.
  #39  
Old 05-13-2017, 08:37 AM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
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The word tine doesn't only refer to the prongs of a table fork. Tine is also what the individual sound producing elements of an electric piano are called. This usage is similar to table fork tines as electric pianos have tuning forks and the tine is part of that. But you don't call the piano part a "prong"
  #40  
Old 05-13-2017, 10:21 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
If a couple of minutes ago you held up a fork to me and asked me what the little pointy things are called, I may or may not have stumbled trying to come up with it, but when I saw the word "tine" I automatically interpreted it to be the pointy bits on a fork. So the word is in my vocabulary, but not my active one.
Interestingly, I had the exact opposite experience. I read the thread title and went "WTF is 'tine'?" Then read the OP and went "oh, as in on a fork!"
  #41  
Old 05-13-2017, 11:09 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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My question is - when do you EVER need to refer to the pointy operating parts of a fork, anyway? Except perhaps in the sole instance of "Don't put that fork on the table. It has a bent tine."
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:11 AM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Just a matter of tine.

I have known the word since my younger days.
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Old 05-13-2017, 11:22 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
My question is - when do you EVER need to refer to the pointy operating parts of a fork, anyway? Except perhaps in the sole instance of "Don't put that fork on the table. It has a bent tine."
Well, there was the Cyndi Lauper hit "Tine After Tine" that I am quite fond of.
  #44  
Old 05-13-2017, 11:26 AM
Procrustus Procrustus is online now
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Does anyone really know what tine is?
Does anyone really care?

As for me, I'm sure I've seen the word, but the thread title didn't jog my memory. I had to read a bit to figure it out.
  #45  
Old 05-13-2017, 11:40 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Didn't anyone watch Cagney & Lacey or Judging Amy? Those shows used "tine" daily.
  #46  
Old 05-13-2017, 11:51 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Don't ask me when or where I learned that word, but I did know it.

And I knew rungs and risers, but in this thread I've learned stiles.
  #47  
Old 05-13-2017, 12:05 PM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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I know "stiles" as the steps that allow people to climb over a fence across a footpath while preventing animals from getting out.
  #48  
Old 05-13-2017, 12:54 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I know "stiles" as the steps that allow people to climb over a fence across a footpath while preventing animals from getting out.
The more common term is turnstile and almost everyone knows that. Those are the barriers that you can walk through one way but not the other like at a subway station. Therefore, it is easy to figure out the more simple version of one.

The thing I find most remarkable is that Americans, Canadians, English, Irish and Australians still speak the same language with only a few exceptions (we will leave the Scottish and Brooklynites out of this for now). Despite hundreds of years of separation, the vast majority of it would be perfectly mutually intelligible if the rest of them just learned to talk right.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 05-13-2017 at 12:56 PM.
  #49  
Old 05-13-2017, 03:25 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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....
The thing I find most remarkable is that Americans, Canadians, English, Irish and Australians still speak the same language with only a few exceptions (we will leave the Scottish and Brooklynites out of this for now). Despite hundreds of years of separation, the vast majority of it would be perfectly mutually intelligible if the rest of them just learned to talk right.
I've often given that some thought, especially reading posts here.

Also, watching an Australian TV show (Bondi Vet) a lot of the same colloquialisms are completely shared with North American English. How did that happen?

(Although they sure do say "mate" an awful lot!)

I'm from Scotland originally. Although the accent can be thick (and they certainly can informally write in the same accent) formal writing - judged even by our Scottish posters here - is indistinct from any other English language poster.


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Old 05-13-2017, 03:56 PM
Arrendajo Arrendajo is offline
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Pretty common word, IMO.
On a side note, I recently visited a proctologist for an exam. He pulled a dinner fork from the instrument tray and told me to bend over. I expressed some reservations about him using a fork, but he assured me he had done it for years. He said "These are the tines that pry men's holes."
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