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an assortment of scissors

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English sisours, sisoures (attested since 1350–1400), from Old French cisoires, from Vulgar Latin *cīsōria, plural of Late Latin cīsōrium (cutting tool) (compare chisel); from Latin word root -cīsus (compare excise) or caesus, past participle of caedō (to cut).

  • The current spelling, from the 16th century, is due to association with Medieval Latin scissor (tailor), from Latin carrying the meaning “carver, cutter”, from scindere (to split).



scissors (plural scissors)

  1. (countable, usually construed as plural) A tool used for cutting thin material, consisting of two crossing blades attached at a pivot point in such a way that the blades slide across each other when the handles are closed.
    Those scissors are sharp.
    (indicating singular or plural scissors)
    That scissors is sharp.
    (less commonly to indicate singular scissors)
    Scissors are used to cut the flowers.
    Use a scissors to cut them if you don't have proper shears.
    • 1947 June 22, “Around the Garden”, in New York Times:
      Roses will last longer if a knife rather than a scissors is used to cut the blooms.
  2. (countable, rugby) An attacking move conducted by two players; the player without the ball runs from one side of the ball carrier, behind the ball carrier, and receives a pass from the ball carrier on the other side.
    They executed a perfect scissors.
  3. (countable, skating) A method of skating with one foot significantly in front of the other.
  4. (countable, gymnastics) An exercise in which the legs are switched back and forth, suggesting the motion of scissors.
  5. (countable, wrestling) A scissors hold.
  6. (rock paper scissors) A hand with the index and middle fingers open (a handshape resembling scissors), that beats paper and is loses to rock. It beats lizard and loses to Spock in rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.


  1. (rare) plural of scissor

Usage notes[edit]

  • "A pair of scissors" is preferred to "a scissors" by about a four-to-one margin in the US (COCA).
  • "The scissors" is preferred to "the scissor" by about a thirty-to-one margin in the US (COCA).


Derived terms[edit]




  1. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of scissor