According to the Oxford Dictionaries, it means:

1 [with object and adverbial] Pick up and move (something) with a scoop.
‘I scooped the grain into the bag’

So I'm picturing a spoon and maybe a fork.

Can you use the verb scoop when using chopsticks?

Example sentence:

She scooped up a little ball of rice with her chopsticks.


You shouldn't only look at the first definition, even though that is the one that deals with utensils.

The next part of the definition you linked is:

1.2 Pick up (someone or something) in a swift, fluid movement.
‘he laughed and scooped her up in his arms’

In your sentence

She scooped up a little ball of rice with her chopsticks.

scoop is being used to emphasize that she is proficient with her chopsticks. She can swiftly and easily eat rice with them, something that people not skilled with chopsticks have a hard time doing.

You could also say something like:

Into our mouths, we shoveled rice bathed in sauces that glowed red and gold and smelled of a potpourri of balmy spices. (Source)

That doesn't mean that we ate with shovels, just that it was so good we ate very quickly (and maybe ungracefully in our haste).

  • And you can even use chopsticks as a scoop in the first sense if, say, the rice is sticky enough; it just isn't good form. :) – Luke Sawczak Dec 13 '18 at 13:55
  • @LukeSawczak True, but it was that sort of eating that made me think of "shoveling" food into our mouths ;) – ColleenV parted ways Dec 13 '18 at 16:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.