What's the generic name you use for your set of forks, knives, spoons, etc.? We use the term, "flatware", to describe such a set of dining utensils. This seems to be a fairly common term in the United States and extends to sets made of all types of material, not just sterling. So, to be specific, we always use the term, "sterling flatware", if that's what we are describing. Sometimes, you see this word misspelled as "flatwear".
Outside the United States, the term "cutlery", seems to be used a lot to describe what we call flatware. Here in the United States, we often use this term only to include items that "cut" such as knives and scissors.
In the South, we hear the term, "silverware", being used to describe what we think of as flatware, even if the pieces contain no silver! For example, someone might say, "I use my everyday silverware most of the time but on Sunday, I use my good silverware." This could be translated as, "I use my stainless steel flatware most of the time but on Sunday, I use my sterling flatware."
"Tableware" is also used but this term may broader in that it might include other dining pieces such as dishes.
Also in the South, we hear the term, "silver", being used to define sterling or silverplate flatware. I can remember hearing such phrases as, "On Thanksgiving Day, we set the table with our silver."
When we sell sterling flatware, we try to describe exactly what we are selling so there will be no question. When buying, we ask a seller to do the same thing. I have received many initial inquiries stating something like this, "I have some excellent sterling silverplate pieces."
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