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”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsɪzəz/
- (US) enPR: sĭzʹərz, IPA(key): /ˈsɪzɚz/
Audio (US) (file) Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪzə(r)z
scissors (plural scissors)
- (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.
- (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.
- (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.
- (countable, skating) A method of skating with one foot significantly in front of the other.
- (countable, gymnastics) An exercise in which the legs are switched back and forth, suggesting the motion of scissors.
- (countable, wrestling) A scissors hold.
- (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.
- "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).
- (transitive) Rare form of .
- 1907, Barbara Baynton, Sally Krimmer; Alan Lawson, editors, 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.
- Third-person singular simple present indicative form of scissor