食器 "eating utensils" meaning

Maybe I’m just being dumb, but I’ve never heard of “eating utensils” being used in everyday language (I’d think of utensils as more what you use to cook / serve the food). Is “cutlery” an appropriate synonym for the more specific things-you-use-to-eat-with meaning? I’m not sure where to look for this, I tried googling it and found an article that seems to be explaining the difference between “crockery” and “cutlery”, but I can’t understand it very well (and they seemed to be using 食器 in the more general meaning anyway).

I also found out in my searches that Americans tend to think of cutlery as just referring to knives, which is pretty funny to me because I never even realised the word “cut” was in there :smile:

Sorry if this isn’t the right place to ask or I’m missing something obvious ^^"

1 Like

Yep, cutlery seems like the same thing.

1 Like

In the US we’d normally say “silverware” (no matter what it’s actually made of) where Commonwealth countries would say “cutlery” but it seems like an inexact match with 食器 to me. Then again I suppose it’s close enough.

4 Likes

If someone said “utensils” in a kitchen, I would never even consider that they were talking about things used to cook food.

1 Like

I rarely hear it. It would be a really geeky or like “im smart” way to saying silverware/spoon/fork.
Could you pass me the eating utensils and also turn on the air multiplier.
uhh you mean a spoon and turn on the fan?

For what it’s worth, people in my family say “eating utensils” occasionally, including me.

3 Likes

Sometimes WK includes meanings closer to the kanji, like “pig meat” or “skin doctor”. It doesn’t always mean the meanings are best for common speech.

Btw, 食器 includes plates, not sure if that is true for cutlery, silverware, etc.

2 Likes

That’s interesting, here in Australia it’s exactly the opposite - if someone says utensils it’s only short for “cooking utensils”

2 Likes

That’s what bothered me about this one.

1 Like

Yeah, jisho.org only lists “tableware” as a meaning, but WK says

But, more specifically it can also mean your eating utensils or your utensils.

Tbh, “food container” sounds more like things you hold food in than things you use to transfer it to your mouth, so I don’t think specifying that it can mean just the latter really helps with the mnemonic (unless I misinterpreted what they were trying to say).

So is the meaning that includes plates etc. the more common one, then?
(Also, I didn’t consider this before I saw Leebo’s comment, but does “utensils” here not include the utensils such as wooden spoons that you would use for cooking…?)

The definition is 食事に用いる器具。茶碗(ちやわん)・皿・はし・ナイフ・フォークなど。
“The utensils/implements/devices used in a meal. Bowls, plates, chopsticks, knives, forks, etc.”

器具 is quite a vague word, so I just tossed a bunch of glosses into that sentence.

I don’t think that 食事 includes the preparation of the food itself, for that I would go with 料理, but I could ask a Japanese person.

EDIT: And yeah, checking the dictionary for 食事 shows that it’s quite narrow, it’s the consumption of food, not all things related to meals. So, this is “items used for consuming food” essentially.

4 Likes

I think the problem was the use of the word “utensils”, which I realise can mean different things for different people / contexts, and kinda just confused me (and I was wondering why something like “cutlery / silverware” wasn’t mentioned instead). If I just think of it as “tableware”, that should cover everything, right?

2 Likes

I would say that “cooking utensils” and “eating utensils” are both common enough words/phrases.

3 Likes

Cooking utensils, yes… but for me, “eating utensils” sounds like a very oddly formal way of saying it xD
I’m guessing it’s just a regional difference :slightly_smiling_face:

3 Likes

Could be. Sounds perfectly normal/natural to me. :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Thank you, as a non-native I couldn’t give any input, but utensils seemed like a perfectly adequate and natural translation to me.

When I’m having difficulty visualising what a word might mean, I often put the kanji into google and then look at the images which get returned. If you do this with 食器 you’ll see it mainly returns crockery rather than cutlery. In fact I remember doing it for this word when I encountered it, and deciding to stick with “tableware” as the best translation, as utensils to me implies things other than crockery, whereas tableware is more general.

3 Likes

I actually just started doing that :smiley:
(I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before…)

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.