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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). Partially displaced native Old English sċēara (scissors, shears), whence shears.

  • 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) (attributive scissor)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
  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 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. (uncountable, aviation, military, with the) A type of defensive maneuver in dogfighting, involving repeatedly turning one's aircraft towards that of the attacker in order to force them to overshoot.
  3. (countable, aviation, military) An instance of the above dogfighting maneuver.
  4. (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.
  5. (countable, skating) A method of skating with one foot significantly in front of the other.
  6. (countable, gymnastics) An exercise in which the legs are switched back and forth, suggesting the motion of scissors.
  7. (countable, wrestling) A scissors hold.
  8. (rock paper scissors) A hand with the index and middle fingers open (a handshape resembling scissors), that beats paper and loses to rock. It beats lizard and loses to Spock in rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.

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. (rare) plural of scissor


scissors (third-person singular simple present scissorses, present participle scissorsing, simple past and past participle scissorsed)

  1. (transitive) Rare form of scissor (To cut using, or as if using, scissors.).
    • 1907, Barbara Baynton, edited by Sally Krimmer and Alan Lawson, Human Toll (Portable Australian Authors: Barbara Baynton), St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, published 1980, page 175:
      She found her in the dining-room with Ann Foster, the little dressmaker, who was endeavouring to scissors through the right side of her underlip with her teeth as proof that the compiling of a list of requisites was no tax to her.



  1. third-person singular simple present indicative of scissor



  1. (dated) Cry of anguish or frustration.
    • 1909, Edward Waterman Townsend, chapter II, in The Climbing Courvatels[1], New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, page 30:
      Say, wouldn’t it put your eye out to get a letter from one of the kiddies with the thumb‐prints of that crest not doing a thing but snuggling down in the wax on the envelope? Oh, scissors!
    • 1911, William Caine, chapter XIV, in The Revolt at Roskelly’s[2], New York & London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, page 270:
      Scissors!” he shouted and stuck his finger in his mouth.
    • 1913, Richard Claude Carton, Public Opinion: A Farce in Three Acts[3], London: Samuel French, Ltd., page 81:
      Then sit down—make yourself at home. Ah, scissors.

Further reading[edit]