Fork over / out / up is defined on Dictionary.com as:

to hand over; deliver; pay: Fork over the money you owe me!

What's the difference between the usages of over, out, and up? Are different particles used in different situations or are they all can be used in the same situation? For example, is it correct to say:

He forked over $200 for front-row seats.
He forked up $200 for front-row seats, or
He forked out $200 for front-row seats.

  • 6
    I'd say they were all much of a muchness. "Fork up" can be used alone with no object. "Where's my money? Fork up!" "Fork over" gives me the impression of paying someone a bit more than the other two. "Fork out" and "fork up" maybe describe "money being paid" but don't necessarily invoke the image of a person being paid, rather just describing the transaction itself. (Not an answer, because it's all just supposition - no hard facts!) (Responding from a BrE POV)
    – JMB
    Feb 2, 2014 at 16:31
  • @JMB - I'd upvote that if it was an answer; I think you've astutely nailed some meaningful points.
    – J.R.
    Feb 2, 2014 at 22:29
  • @J.R. - Thanks for that. I placed it as a comment since I was a bit worried about airy-fairy lack of detail stuff. Should I make it an answer, or can OP mark as resolved anyway, do you know?
    – JMB
    Feb 2, 2014 at 22:35
  • 2
    Your comment has three upticks; I think that's substantial enough evidence that you can turn it into an answer now.
    – J.R.
    Feb 2, 2014 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


The use of "over" in "fork over" is the most common of the variants, in my own experience. I would even go so far as to say "fork up" probably shares a kinship with "cough up," as in "He coughed up the $200 he owed the guy." It's certainly not uncommon for English speakers to take bits of phrases and swap them, especially when they mean similar things and have similar structure.

@JMB's assessment of "fork over" vs. "fork out" is also spot on, that "over" connotes direction or intent (e.g., over to someone) whereas "out" just emphasizes that whatever is being "forked" is leaving the original owner.

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