In case you ever wondered…

From Wikipedia – A spatula is a small implement with a broad, flat, flexible blade used to mix, spread and lift materials including foods, drugs, plaster and paints. It derives from the Latin word for a flat piece of wood or splint (a diminutive form of the Latin spatha, meaning broadsword), and hence can also refer to a tongue depressor. The words spade (digging tool) and spathe are similarly derived. The word spatula is known to have been used in English since 1525.


And should you be wondering why I was wondering about this (and even if not!)… I was in the kitchen trying to shovel some oven chips (fries) onto my plate with one of these things and I wondered (out loud as you do) why it was called what it was and of course, no one knew and so, me being me, I had to look it up.

I do wonder though what they called it ‘before’ 1525. You can imagine the scene in a medieval kitchen (around December 1524, just before tea):

Cook. Pass me that thing.

Serf. What ‘thing’?

Cook. That thing there with the handle.

Serf. What? This?

Cook. No you yoik, that’s a bloody spoon. No, the thing with the flat end.

Serf. Oh, this! Can’t we give it a name instead of ‘thing with a flat end’?

Cook. I’ll splat you with it in a minute..

Serf. Let’s call it ‘Splatula’ then!

And so a name was born. Add in several hundred years of vocal corruption and it’s a ‘spatula’.

All that Latin stuff up top? Nah, that’s just rubbish to make clever people feel good about themselves!



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