A utensil is a hand-held tool used to perform a specific task. A wide variety of utensils exist, designed for tasks as varied as cooking (including cutting, heating, mixing, blending and measuring), cleaning, repairing, carving, gardening and various other chores. Some utensils are highly specialized and may be used to perform only one or two tasks, such as an egg separator or apple corer. Other utensils are general purpose and serve several different purposes, such as a knife or spoon.

The word utensil is related to the French verb utre, meaning “to use” and Latin utuni, “to hold in the hand.” Other English words that are closely related to utensil include implement, instrument, and appliance. Utensil is distinct from the other three, in that it suggests something adapted to facilitate a particular kind of work and insinuates that the tool is held by the hand: implement implies an article or contrivance for performing a task; instrument is more apt to indicate a device requiring delicacy and precision; and appliance suggests a device powered by an electric source.

The word utensil is often categorized by the type of task for which it is used, using terms derived from the word “ware”: kitchen utensils, utensils used for food preparation; ovenware and bakeware, utensils intended to be placed in ovens or used in baking; cookware, utensils used for the preparation of meals; and tableware, utensils used at the dining table. Some utensils are both kitchen utensils and eating utensils, such as cutlery. Ustensiles