Definition of prong in US English:



  • 1Each of two or more projecting pointed parts at the end of a fork.

    • ‘Fork wounds usually are clustered wounds consistent with the prongs of the fork used.’
    • ‘I found the best way was to gently ease the slices, one at a time, between the prongs of the fork.’
    • ‘Control severe bleeding by applying pressure with the prongs of a fork.’
    • ‘She brought the fork, prongs faced down, towards her thigh with great speed.’
    • ‘Mr. Lambton sat there, plate empty, counting the number of prongs on his fork, like the amount kept changing before his eyes.’
    • ‘She then bent the prong of a fork and used it to pick the lock on a kitchen window, enabling her to escape to freedom.’
    • ‘Instead it righted itself and rolled the last length to the ground, the prongs of the forks stopping it from going over completely.’
    • ‘Cut each strip into 1-inch pieces and roll each piece against the prongs of a fork to shape.’
    • ‘Beryllium fork tips were also manufactured to be attached to the prongs of standard forks for handling such things as celluloid scrap and gun cotton.’
    • ‘Instead he concentrated on the way his hand moved, the way the food collected in lumps on the prongs of his fork and how it all grew increasingly larger as it made the journey upward to meet his lips.’
    • ‘Iron forks with three curved prongs, called craams, are sometimes used to scoop the cockles out of the sand.’
    tine, point, tip, spike, projection
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A projecting part on various other devices.
      ‘a small rubber brush with large prongs’
      • ‘The front sprinklers had to be turned on by hand by inserting a long steel rod with two prongs on the end down a recessed concrete pipe housing a valve.’
      • ‘When the prongs of a tuning fork vibrate back and forth in a regular manner, a periodic sound is produced.’
      • ‘At this point, not all of the prongs are the same size or strength.’
      • ‘For the final piece, the tattered, perforated forepaper hung from thin silver prongs protruding from the wall.’
      • ‘With a thin hilt and a curved bend, three sharp prongs spiked out nastily and gleamed in the room's bright light.’
      • ‘Some of his works contain images of tuning forks with halo-like parallel lines radiating off the two prongs.’
      • ‘The third contact member has a pair of prongs that extend into the rear hole section.’
      • ‘Bend each of those prongs roughly 90 degrees to form hooks at their halfway point.’
      • ‘To attach rhinestones or studs without prongs to fabric, use jewelry adhesive formulated for adhering plastic and metal to fabric.’
      • ‘The engaging structure includes a pair of prongs or protrusions having a slip resistant outer surface.’
      • ‘If you rip open your computer (not right now) and look at the larger things that are stuck on the circuit board, particularly those which are cylindrical, you'll see they're attached by two or more metal prongs.’
      • ‘Then, aerate the lawn by pushing the prongs of a garden fork into the soil to a depth of 6in, and repeat at 9in intervals, to loosen up any compacted soil.’
      • ‘So I indicated that my goal henceforth was the space between two prongs of a garden fork, whereas his was the expanse between an apple tree and a pear tree in our fruity back garden.’
      • ‘For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it is a less-than-lethal stun gun with two metal prongs designed to incapacitate an assailant with a shock of high-voltage, low amperage electricity while you flee to safety.’
      • ‘Along Michigan Avenue there is a car lot that has a large light pole with 3 prongs on it that is fun and unique.’
      • ‘Soap can sit on top of the prongs, while soapy water collects in the tray.’
      • ‘The gaps between the white topaz prongs were wide enough for the broadsword's blade to slip through, as it was relatively thin despite the length.’
      • ‘As he spun he twirled his pistols and thumbed a button that extended prongs from the handles.’
  • 2Each of the separate parts of an attack or operation.

    ‘the three main prongs of the new government's program’
    • ‘The second prong would be to identify and hire individuals retiring or separating from the military with critical skills.’
    • ‘The attack would have throng prongs: naval, land, and air.’
    • ‘The takeaway points from this test are that the first prong requires specific intent; the second prong requires a very short time horizon for the speech, and the third prong is extremely hard to prove in court.’
    • ‘To bid for a share of the funding, Burnley's Community Safety Partnership went for a programme that had a number of prongs to it, so that the money could be used to make more of a difference.’
    • ‘This issue has two prongs, as while those comments are quite unacceptable, for them to be attributed to a senior police officer is very damaging.’
    • ‘One of the prongs of the Court's obscenity test is that the speech must ‘appeal to the prurient interest’ in order to be punishable as obscenity.’
    • ‘I think those three prongs of the community development approach are pretty important, alongside controlling supply.’
    • ‘Overall, the three prongs of our approach - training, diet and supplementation - will work synergistically over the six weeks.’
    • ‘There are three prongs to the US government, remember.’
    • ‘The second prong of the MSN Explorer attack applies only to MSN email users.’
    • ‘The second prong of the attack is to dramatically cut the price on the showroom floor.’
    • ‘First, when considering the first prong of the test he deals with the differing conduct of the various appellants as if it were all essentially the same conduct.’
    • ‘By design, each of the prongs in that strategy is a win-win.’
    • ‘This case for a belief module is far from unassailable, and indeed every one of these prongs is still vigorously disputed, but the whole picture is compelling.’
    • ‘To satisfy the second prong, it could have pointed to McGinnis' failure to complain in a timely manner.’
    • ‘One prong comprised ‘positive’ eugenics, which meant manipulating human heredity and/or breeding to produce superior people.’
    • ‘The maintenance interface occurs in two prongs - first the operator, and second an assigned mechanic.’
    • ‘Both Burger and Brennan agreed that both the historical and structural or instrumental prongs of their analysis were important; it was their emphasis that was different.’


[with object]
  • Pierce or stab with a fork.

    ‘pronging the bread with a fondue fork’
    • ‘‘Now that,’ said Will, playfully pronging a sliver of bacon, ‘is painfully true.’’
    • ‘They had to make matters worse by using their forks, which they were happily dipping in and out of the salad and into their mouths, to prong the raw chicken and slap it on the hot stone.’


Late 15th century (denoting a forked implement): perhaps related to Middle Low German prange ‘pinching instrument’. The verb dates from the mid 19th century.