The word “spatula” has so many meanings in English, varying even between regions and generations, that CooksInfo found it necessary to make arbitrary, and granted perhaps artificial, distinctions for the purpose of this site in order to distinguish the different definitions.
- If you are looking for spatulas that you use to scrape bowls with, see the entry for “Rubber Spatulas“;
- If you are looking for spatulas that you use to flip food with, see “Flippers“;
- If you are looking for spatulas that you use to decorate a cake with, see “Palette Knives“.
“Spatula” comes from the Latin word “spatha” (which came from the Greek word “spathe”), which was a long, straight, narrow Roman sword (longer, anyway, that the short “gladius” sword that it started to replace for non-infantry personnel towards the end of the second century) made from layers of iron and steel. On this basis, some argue (and quite convincingly), that the word spatula should only be applied to “palette knives”, which most closely resemble that Roman sword (minus the pointy tip, of course.)
The adventurous souls amongst you may wish to try pluralizing it as “spatulae” the next time you get to use the word in an email to friends.