The Terminology of Scissors

You may think that an everyday item like scissors would have a simple construction. You might think that the names of the parts of scissors would be quite easy as well, but that is not true. Scissors – especially those meant for use on hair – are quite complex items with their own specific terminology. So, let’s check out the vocabulary of scissors in more detail.


  • The points or tips are the ends of blades.
  • The finger bows are the handles, where the fingers are inserted. Generally, there are two finger bows, one for the thumb and one for the fingers.
  • The size is the total length of the scissors, measured from the points to the end of the finger bows. The units of scissor measurements can differ depending on the country where the scissors are manufactured and their target audience. The shortest scissors are usually 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) long while the longest are usually 7 inches (17.8 cm). The most common and popular hair shears range between 5 and 6 inches (12.7-15.2 cm) because they are suitable for most people.
  • The outside blade is the dull edge of the blade. This is sometimes called the backside of the blade as well.
  • The thumb blade is the blade which is connected to the finger bow for the thumb.
  • The finger blade is the blade which is connected to the finger bow for the fingers.
  • The adjustment screw is the screw which connects both blades and handles in the middle. There are adjustable and non-adjustable screws. Adjustable screws allow you to adjust the tension of cutting. Non-adjustable screws simply connect the blades and handles, allowing them to move.
  • The screw hole is where the screw is attached to the blades.
  • The wing is the part between the adjustment screw and the shank.
  • The bumper or stopper is the cushioning element between the finger bows.
  • The finger rest is a piece of metal intended for use as finger support. This relieves the stress on the wrist and shoulder. Finger rests can be removable or non-removable.
  • The finger insert is a rubber insert for the finger hole. It improves comfort and adjusts the size of the finger hole.
  • The edge is the sharp part of the blade. There are different kinds of blades such as serrated edge, straight edge, and convex edge. Serrated edge blades are best for beginners because their edges slip less, thus giving more control when cutting dry hair. Straight edge blades are best for hair cutting techniques such as slice cutting and point cutting. Convex edge blades are extremely sharp. This makes them suitable for thinning and smooth cutting. Professional hairdressers who demand maximum control, balance, and comfort choose convex blades. It should be mentioned that hair thinning shears have one or two blending teeth blades.


  • The bow is the outside part of the handle. There are three types of handles: straight, semi-offset, and full-offset. These have to do with the position of the handle in relation to the blades. It is very important to choose the right handle, based on your individual hair cutting techniques and specifications. Using the incorrect handle can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive wrist motions during hair cutting cause the median nerve to rub against the carpal tunnel. Repeating this movement thousands of times daily can damage the nerve. This can result in tingling, numbness, or pain in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, or ring finger. To relieve the stress and minimize the risk of repetitive strain injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome, hair cutting shears with crane handles or offset handles are recommended for use by most stylists.


  • The ride or halfmoon is the part next to the screw where the blades slide one over each other.
  • The shank is the part which connects the finger bows to the blades.
  • The neck is the part which connects the finger bows to the shank
  • The outside ring is the outer part of the finger bow.
  • The inside ring is the inner part of the finger bow.
  • The joint is the part over the ride or halfmoon, where both the blades meet.
  • The ring flat is the surface of finger bows.
  • The foreside is the upper part of the scissors.
  • The teardrop corner is the angle in the upper surface of the blade.
  • The hollow or concave is the inner part of the blade.


As you can see, hair cutting shears are actually quite complex items with many elements, each of which has a specific function. These elements vary depending on the type, function, and manufacturer of each pair of scissors.

  • Alicia Reply

    Is there a term or name for the action when you use your pair of scissors to cut wrapping paper but instead of the cutting action you simply run the paper through the open pair of sharp scissors and the whole sheet is cut?

    • boldbarber Reply

      Unfortunately, I have no idea.

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