Furca, furcæ, fœ. gen. Horat. A forke, or any thing made like a forke, to vnderset or proppe vp. Pli. Also a manner of gallows made with two great forkes, & a pole laid ouer, vnder which either slaues were beaten, or other were put to reproch.Bicornes furcæ.Virg. Furcã ferebant deprehensi in alíquo maleficioserui.Cicer.Figebantur furca grassatores. Callistratus. Were hauged.In furcas fixus. Plin. Hanged. Furcæ ferreæ. Varr.
Lewis and Short: Latin dictionary
furca, ae, f. [Sanscr. bhur-ig, shears; cf. Lat. forceps, forfex; also Gr. fa/ros, plough; Lat. forāre; Engl. bore, Curt. Gr. Etym. p. 299; but Corss. refers furca to root dhar-,=fero, as a prop. support; v. Ausspr. 1, 149], a two-pronged fork.I.Lit.: exacuunt alii vallos furcasque bicornes, Verg. G. 1, 264: valentes, id. ib. 2, 359: furcis detrudi, Liv. 28, 3, 7; cf. Caes. B. C. 2, 11, 2. —Prov.: naturam expellas furcā, tamen usque recurret, with might and main, Hor. Ep. 1, 10, 24 (v. furcilla).—II.Transf., of things shaped like a fork. A.A forkshaped prop, pole, or stake, for carrying burdens on the back or shoulder, Plaut. Cas. 2, 8, 2; for supporting the seats of a theatre, Liv. 1, 35, 9; for a vine, Plin. 14, 2, 4, 32; for fishing-nets, id. 9, 8, 9, 31; for the gable of a house, Ov. M. 8, 700; a frame on which meat was suspended in the chimney, id. ib. 8, 648.—B.An instrument of punishment in the form of a fork (V or II), which was placed on the culprit's neck, while his hands were fastened to the two ends, a yoke (cf.: crux, gabalus, patibulum; hence, furcifer): To. Satis sumpsimus jam supplici. Do. Fateor, manus vobis do. To. Post dabis sub furcis, Plaut. Pers. 5, 2, 71: canem et furcam ferre, id. Cas. 2, 6, 37: servus per circum, cum virgis caederetur, furcam ferens ductus est, Cic. Div. 1, 26, 55: servus sub furca caesus, Liv. 2, 36, 1 Drak.; Val. Max. 1, 7, 4; Lact. 2, 7, 20: sub furca vinctus inter verbera et cruciatus, Liv. 1, 26, 10: cervicem inserere furcae, Suet. Ner. 49; Eutr. 7, 5; Prud. stef. 10, 851.—Hence poet. to designate the worst condition of slavery: ibis sub furcam prudens, Hor. S. 2, 7, 66.—C.A fork-shaped gallows: aliquem furcā figere, Dig. 48, 19, 28 fin.: furcae subicere, ib. 9: in furcam tollere, ib. 38: in furcam suspendere, ib. 13, 6: in furcam damnare, ib. 49, 16, 3: canes vivi in furca, sambucea arbore fixi, Plin. 29. 4, 14, 57.—D.A fork-shaped yoke in which young bullocks were put to be tamed, Varr. R. R. 1, 20, 2.—E. Furcae cancrorum, the claws of a crab, App. Mag. p. 297. —F. Furcae Caudinae, the narrow pass of Caudium, the Caudine Forks, usually called Furculae Caudinae (v. furcula, II. and Caudium), Val. Max. 5, 1, 5ext.; 7, 2, 17 ext.