Stick a Fork In It


Stick a fork in it is a common idiom that means something is finished. It can refer to things that are no longer functional; to people who feel exhausted; or food that is done cooking.

Example: Gilbert went to the gym and exercised for an hour. After his workout, he became tired and wanted to go home to rest. Thus, concerning him, someone might say: “Stick a fork in him, he’s done.”

Note: Sometimes the words “(he/she/it’s) done” follow immediately after this phrase, like in the example above.

In terms of ‘no longer functional’:
1. Down and out
2. Down for the count
3. Out of commission

In terms of ‘feeling tired’:
1. Worn out

Stick a fork in it, a steak on a plate.

The Origin Of ‘Stick a Fork In It’

The origin of this phrase might come from the practice of sticking a fork in meat that is in the process of cooking. People do this in order to check whether the meat has finished cooking and is ready to eat.

After this expression is said, it’s common for the words “<personal pronoun> is done” to follow. For example: “stick a fork in (him), (he) is done!” The words in parenthesis are replaceable depending on who or what is being talked about.

Example Sentences

  • I bought a new monitor last week and now it doesn’t power on anymore! Stick a fork in it, it’s done; I definitely returning this as soon as I can.
  • Mike’s pizza place downtown might be going out of business soon. Stick a fork in it, he might be done.

Tip: Know Your Phrase has the meaning and origins of many common expressions. So if you want to see and read about more of them, check out our alphabetical list of phrases. It contains hundreds of idioms that you can browse through. To find the list and begin exploring, click (or tap) a letter from the top menu.