1. A small implement having a straight handle and a broad, flexible blade that is used to mix or spread semiliquid substances: used a spatula to apply the joint compound.
2. A small implement having an angled handle and a broad, flat blade that is used in cooking or serving food: flipped the pancakes with a spatula.
3. Chiefly British A tongue depressor.
[Latin, flat piece of wood, splint, diminutive of spatha, broadsword; see SPATHE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.