Pitchfork


Pitchfork


A pitchfork is an agricultural tool with a long handle and long, thin, widely separated pointed tines (also called prongs) used to lift and pitch (throw) loose material, such as hay, leaves, grapes, dung or other agricultural materials. Pitchforks typically have from two to six tines with different lengths and spacing depending on purpose. They are usually made of steel with a long wooden handle, but may also be made from wood, wrought iron, bamboo, alloy etc. In some parts of England a pitchfork is known as a "prong". [Copper, Bob, "A Song for Every Season: A Hundred Years of a Sussex Farming Family" (page 112), Heinemann 1971] The pitchfork is similar to the shorter and sturdier garden fork.

The pitchfork has frequently been used as a weapon by those who couldn't afford or didn't have access to more expensive weapons such as swords, or, later, guns. As a result, pitchforks are stereotypically carried by angry mobs or gangs of enraged peasants.

In Europe, the pitchfork was first used in the early Middle Ages, at about the same time as the harrow. The pitchfork was originally made entirely of wood; today, the tines are usually made of hard metal.

ymbolism, literary and artistic references

Artistic usage

Arguably the most notable American artistic display of the pitchfork is in "American Gothic", the painting by Grant Wood. In this painting it symbolizes hand labor. Less famous are paintings by various artists which depict a wide variety of pitchforks and other tools in use and at rest. [ [http://www.hayinart.com/002613.html] ]

Political usage

Because of its association with peasantry, the pitchfork is often a populist symbol and part of the nickname of populist leaders, thus:
*"Pitchfork Ben" (Benjamin Tillman)
*"Pitchfork Pat" (Pat Buchanan)

The Gangster Disciples, a street gang in the midwestern United States, use a three-pointed pitchfork as one of their symbols.

Religious symbolism

The pitchfork is often used in satire of Christian demonology in popular media, especially in early humorous cartoons where a popular joke was a caricature of an angel and a devil sitting on the shoulders of the protagonist. More seriously, it bears a resemblance to the trident of the Greek god Poseidon and the Hindu god Shiva.

ee also

* Trident
* Fork (disambiguation)

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Pitchfork — URL: pitchfork.com Тип сайта: Музыкальный электронный ж …   Википедия

  • Pitchfork — Pitch fork , v. t. To pitch or throw with, or as with, a pitchfork. [1913 Webster] He has been pitchforked into the footguards. G. A. Sala. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pitchfork — ► NOUN ▪ a farm tool with a long handle and two sharp metal prongs, used for lifting hay. ► VERB 1) lift with a pitchfork. 2) thrust suddenly into an unexpected and difficult situation. ORIGIN from obsolete pickfork, influenced by PITCH(Cf.… …   English terms dictionary

  • pitchfork — [pich′fôrk΄] n. a large, long handled fork used for lifting and tossing hay, straw, etc. vt. to lift and toss with or as with a pitchfork …   English World dictionary

  • Pitchfork — Pitch fork , n. A fork, or farming utensil, used in pitching hay, sheaves of grain, or the like. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pitchfork — mid 14c., altered (by influence of M.E. pichen to throw, thrust ) from M.E. pic forken, from pik (see PIKE (Cf. pike) (2)). The verb is attested from 1837 …   Etymology dictionary

  • pitchfork — I UK [ˈpɪtʃˌfɔː(r)k] / US [ˈpɪtʃˌfɔrk] noun [countable] Word forms pitchfork : singular pitchfork plural pitchforks a tool like a large fork, used on farms for lifting and carrying hay II UK [ˈpɪtʃˌfɔː(r)k] / US [ˈpɪtʃˌfɔrk] verb [transitive]… …   English dictionary

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  • pitchfork — pitch|fork1 [ˈpıtʃfo:k US fo:rk] n a farm tool with a long handle and two long curved metal points, used especially for lifting ↑hay (=dried grass) pitchfork 2 pitchfork2 v [T] BrE to put someone suddenly into a situation for which they are not… …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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