The word utensil is generally applied to any implement adapted to facilitate some kind of work; its synonyms include implement, instrument, appliance and utility. The word utensil suggests a device to do a job that requires little skill; implement and instrument, more generally, suggest devices of a more specialized sort.

A kitchen utensil is used for food preparation; an eating utensil is used to consume the prepared meal. Kitchen utensils may be further categorized by their materials, using terms such as earthenware or silverware (both of which are derived from the root “ware”); bakeware, a subcategory of kitchen utensils intended for use in ovens; cookware, merchandise used for cooking; and so on. Some utensils are both kitchen and eating utensils; for example, knives are both kitchen and eating utensils.

Utensils are typically made from metal, but plastic utensils are available. Some utensils are adapted for specific kinds of food, such as a fish cleaver or an egg whisk; other utensils can be used with foods of any sort. Many utensils are designed to be easily cleaned, which is an important consideration in choosing them.

Taking steps to minimize disposable utensils, buying recycled-content kitchenware and other household items, refusing disposable plates and utensils when dining out, and growing one’s own vegetables are all miniscule drops in the ocean of climate change and deforestation; but each one helps. These examples have been automatically selected from various online sources. They may not reflect the opinions of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Ustensiles