Monday, 5 May 2014

Chopsticks - The Nimble Ones

A china bowl with chopsticks resting on top
Photo by David Mooring


Noun. Late 17th century.
[from pidgin English chop quick (compare with CHOP-CHOP) + STICK noun, rendering Chinese dialect kuaizi literally 'nimble ones'.]

1 Either of a pair of sticks of wood, ivory, etc., held one hand, used by the Chinese etc. to lift food to the mouth. L17

2 In plural. A simple tune for the piano, played with the forefinger of each hand. L19

I am a teensy bit jealous of anyone that can use chopsticks. For me, the Chinese etymology of 'nimble ones' makes chopstick a complete misnomer - were they called fumble sticks, or slippery duck sticks, or surefire way to look like a total div on a date sticks, that would be perfect. But 'nimble ones'? No. I'm afraid not. As much as I've tried, failed and embarrassed myself by giving up and sheepishly asking for a fork halfway through my meal, I'm resigned to the fact that using chopsticks is one of those life-skills I'm just never going to have.

Are the 'nimble ones' nimble in your hands?

Would you be willing to offer me one-to-one tuition in the use, nay, art of using chopsticks?

Do please stick your chops into the comment box below.
(I have no idea what that's supposed to mean)


  1. Ahhh! You just made my day Eddie!
    I thought I was the only one who was unable to use those fumble sticks (best name ever!).
    Long live the fork!! :)

    1. And people that can use them are soo smug!

      Grr ...

      (not Chinese people, obviously, because that would just be daft)