The Abbreviation for Tablespoon: What Is It and How to Use It?

A tablespoon is an important unit of measurement, especially in the United States, and it’s suitable for wet or dry ingredients. The tablespoon abbreviation can be used to record recipes for cakes, sauces, and other food items. Enjoying a delicious meal usually calls for a tablespoon.

If you’re looking for the common abbreviation for tablespoon, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll dig deeper into this word, studying its definition, synonyms, and origin. We’ll also explain its abbreviations, and examine how the word can be used in a sentence.

Let’s dive in.

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How Do You Abbreviate Tablespoon?

There are a few different ways to abbreviate  tablespoon:

  • T
  • tbl
  • tbs
  • tbsp.  


Notably, the abbreviation for tablespoon may be  easily confused with the abbreviation for teaspoon (tsp). To make it more distinct, it’s common to use the uppercase T when abbreviating tablespoon.

For example: 

Next, add 2 Tbsp. of flour, followed by 3 tsp. of sugar. 

The Definition of the Word

According to, a tablespoon is “a large spoon for serving food.” In the United Kingdom, it is a unit of volume equal to 15 millilitres. 

It’s also a unit of measurement equal to 1/16 of a cup, three teaspoons, or ½ fluid ounce in the U.S.

The shape of the tablespoon doesn’t matter. What matters is the quantitative measurement of its contents, be it liquid or dry. A tablespoon may also be used at the dining table for eating or serving. Because it is commonly used at the dinner table, the word is a compound, referring to a spoon for table services. It was first used in or around 1760.  

According to, a tablespoon is a measurement in cooking. It’s a utensil larger than a dessert spoon, a piece of cutlery with a shallow bowl-shaped container with a handle to stir, serve, or take up food.

A tablespoon can be used to measure volume, though the units of measurement vary with regions. For instance, there are no consistent measurement of the capacity of a tablespoon. In the U.S., it’s approximately 14.8 ml (0.50 US fl oz). In the UK and Canada, it’s exactly 15 ml (0.51 US fl oz). In Australia, a tablespoon is 20ml (0.68 US fl.oz). 

Usually, different manufacturers of utensils provide different capacities. This is because there’s no defined law to govern or guide standardization of spoon capacity.

The History and Origin of the Word

Spoons have been used from time immemorial, and the first standardized measuring spoon was invented by Fannie Farmer, director of the Boston Cooking School, in 1896. She decided that it was important to establish standard measurements in cooking. Prior to that time, recipes used estimation, which was both inefficient and unreliable. As a cooking expert and a trainer, Farmer needed to be accurate and specific. The tablespoon measurement appeared in her Boston Cooking School Cook Book.  

In ancient Egypt, the Egyptians had particular respect for spoons. Unlike the modern spoon that is used for serving and taking food, the Egyptian spoon was an ornament made of ivory or slate, which was primarily for ceremonial uses. In Egypt, the spoon dates back to 1000 BC.  

Before 1700 in Europe, it was customary to bring one’s own spoon to the table. Spoons were, therefore, personal property, similar to other important tools. A tablespoon could be cumbersome and inconvenient. If a person forgot to carry his or her own spoon during dinner, then they’d have to eat with their hands.

After 1700, table settings became popular and different types of tablespoons, table forks, table knives, dessert spoons, and teaspoons began to emerge. The 18th century witnessed the real emergence of different kinds of spoons, including mustard spoons, salt spoons, coffee spoons, and soup spoons.  

Examples of the Word in Context

Knowing how many teaspoons in a tablespoon will save you a lot of stress and time while cooking. Especially when scaling a recipe up or down, know the proper amount of spices, baking powder, salt, can prevent a disaster in the kitchen.”


“I dug through our cutlery drawer, and the only thing resembling a tablespoon seemed too big, so I asked my friend if it was, perhaps, a tablespoon. She laughed derisively and said a tablespoon is just a regular spoon – the kind you eat cereal with.”


“Lemon-Thyme: Cook Basic Sauteed Chicken (No. 1) in 1 tablespoon each butter and oil. When done, stir in 1 tablespoon each butter and lemon juice, 4 strips lemon zest and 2 thyme sprigs; turn the chicken to coat.”

—The Food Network

“Add 3 tablespoons of the ice water and incorporate with a fork until absorbed.”

—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

Synonyms for Tablespoon

  • tablespoonful
  • dessertspoon
  • ​jigger
  • ​heaping spoonful
  • fluid dram
  • containerful
  • spoon
  • scoop
  • ladle
  • soup spoon
  • tureen
  • spatula
  • spooning
  • spoon out