in a name? What are chopsticks called in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and
Vietnamese? And how did chopsticks get their name in English?
were invented in China. In ancient times chopsticks in Chinese were
called zhù. However, as the centuries rolled by the name changed to
kuàizi, the symbols meaning "quick bamboo." In writing, both the
ancient and modern characters are used but kuàizi is the common spoken
In the early centuries AD (around 300-500AD) the use of
chopsticks spread to other regions of Asia such as the countries (or
cultures that become the countries) of Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
in Japanese is hashi and is written either with the same kanji as in
ancient China or hiragana. The word hashi in Japanese means
both chopsticks and bridge, though the kanji character is different.
Chopsticks in Japan may have originally been in the form of tongs where
both sticks were joined at the handle with a "bridge."
Chopsticks in Korean is jeotgarak.
Chopsticks in Vietnamese is dua.
you look carefully at the characters representing chopsticks in modern
and ancient Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese, you'll see the topmost
radical is "bamboo".
- Explorer William Dampier
The first use of the word "chopsticks" is from explorer
William Dampier's book Voyages and Descriptions in 1699 (he is also
credited as being the first to use in published writing the words
"barbeque" and "avocado"). Dampier was the first English explorer to
explore what is now Australia and circumnavigated the globe 3 times. It
is believed that the word "chopstick" may have come from Chinese Pidgin
English where "chop chop" meant to do something quickly.