AskDefine | Define tablespoon

Dictionary Definition



1 as much as a tablespoon will hold [syn: tablespoonful]
2 a spoon larger than a dessert spoon; used for serving

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


table + spoon



  1. A large spoon, used for eating food from a bowl.
  2. A spoon too large for eating, usually used for cooking.
  3. A unit of measure, equal to three teaspoons or roughly 15 milliliters in US, exactly 15 milliliters in Britain and Canada, equal to four teaspoons or 20 milliliters in Australia.



a large spoon, used for eating food
Australia: a spoon for cooking
  • Greek: κουτάλα
a unit of measure

Extensive Definition

A tablespoon is a type of spoon used for serving.

Measure of volume

It is also a measure of volume used in cooking. It has various values around the world. It is abbreviated in English as T., tbs. or Tbsp., and in German and Dutch as EL (from Esslöffel and Eetlepel). Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the UK and the United States define:
1 tablespoon = 15 mL,
in line with the definition used in many other countries. In Australia, one tablespoon = 20 mL.
When used for solids (such as granulated sugar), it should be measured to the flattened level of the spoon (level spoonful versus a heaping spoonful or heaped tablespoon, which is as much as can be held in the spoon, or a rounded spoonful, which is twice a level spoonful (the solids above the level roughly mirroring those in the bowl)).

Relationship to teaspoon

In most jurisdictions, one tablespoon equals three teaspoons. In Australia, however, one tablespoon is four teaspoons.
In Asia a tablespoon is equivalent to 2 teaspoons

Traditional definitions

The traditional U.S. interpretation of the tablespoon as a unit of volume is:
1 U.S. tablespoon = ½ U.S. fl. oz. (approx. 14.787 mL)
This is considered problematic in the context of nutrition labeling, where metric units are used even in the United States. However, this consideration does not lessen the factual relationship of a tablespoon to half of a fluid ounce, and tablespoons can be used to measure ingredients when other measuring devices are unavailable. For instance, 8 tablespoons is equivalent to ½ a cup.
The traditional British tablespoon could vary from 1/2 to 5/8 Imperial fl. oz. (14.2 mL to 17.8 mL).

See also

Teaspoon, also used to define quantities in recipes


tablespoon in German: Esslöffel
tablespoon in Spanish: Cucharada
tablespoon in French: Cuillère à soupe
tablespoon in Italian: Cucchiaio da tavola (unità di misura)
tablespoon in Dutch: Eetlepel
tablespoon in Norwegian: Spiseskje (mål)
tablespoon in Polish: Łyżka stołowa
tablespoon in Swedish: Matsked
tablespoon in Chinese: 湯匙
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