A few days ago I drifted away from what I was going to write about and deviate to spoons. It’s not the first time I’ve written about this useful but everyday item, I think I like the word, I like the sound of it. I was quite excited when I first went to Coventry and saw what I thought was Spoon Street, but actually it was Spon Street. I’ve tried to find the origin of the word but it has eluded me, although i did find there was a Spon Lane in West Bromwich, which has an important canal junction named after it – Spon Lane Junction is the original junction of the Wednesbury Canal and the Birmingham Canal, near Oldbury’ and a station which was actually in Smethwick – ‘Spon Lane railway station was a railway station in England, built by the London and North Western Railway on their Stour Valley Line in 1852. It served the western part of Smethwick’ Thank you Wikipedia!
After finding out that a simple spoon has many parts, I got to thinking about spoons and the different sorts there are. Just in our kitchen drawer we have tea spoons, dessert spoons, serving spoons, soup spoons, and in the sideboard we have coffee spoons, and we also have such things as slotted spoons hanging on the implements rack along side rather a lot of measuring spoons which I tend to collect. Somewhere hidden away we have salt spoons and mustard spoons, and we used to have grapefruit spoons too., and we have more than enough wooden spoons.
This is what I wrote about spoons some time ago:
Spoon is such a funny word, and yet it is a word which is in daily use, especially in the country where tea prevails… or maybe now coffee… although going into coffee shops you are quite likely to get a small wooden spill to use as a ‘stirrer’.
I wondered where the word spoon came from, thinking it might be Anglo-Saxon, but no, the Anglo-Saxon for spoon is ‘cucler’… I’m guessing that has a latin origin because latin for spoon is coclear; coclear sounds just like cochlear as in ears, is that because it’s spoon shaped?
I’m wandering away from ‘spoon’ comes from ‘spon’ which is old English for a chip or splinter of wood, and i guess early spoons were made of wood; the on-line etymological dictionary gives a full lineage for the word: Old Norse spann, sponn “chip, splinter,” Swedish spån “a wooden spoon,” Old Frisian spon, Middle Dutch spaen, Dutch spaan, Old High German span, GermanSpan “chip, splinter” but it also goes on to suggest a connection or a coincidental similarity with Greek: Greek spathe “spade,” also possibly Greek sphen “wedge”
At one point, when my son was small, he used to use the word ‘spoon’ as a mild expletive, ‘Oh spoon!’, later when he was at school and playing sports it became a rallying cry “Spoon!! Spoon!! Spoon, lads spoon!”
Spoon also can be used as a verb, meaning to flirt, or to court, or to be lovey-dovey with your sweetheart, and these days it can mean to be lying in bed with someone and curl round them like a pair of spoons. Playing the spoons… well, that’s a whole different use of the word when the cutlery item becomes a percussion instrument: