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Like a scissor - Like scissors
Thread poster: trans-agrar

trans-agrar  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:51
English to German
+ ...
Sep 16, 2011

Dear colleagues - I'd appreciate some learned comments on the phrase "like a scissor". At school, we learned that "scissors" is a plural nown and you use it either in plural or in conjunction with "a pair of". Google brings up scores of hits on "like a scissor". Have I missed anything in the English language's development?
Thanks for any comments
Barbara


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:51
Member (2008)
Italian to English
not the first time Sep 16, 2011

trans-agrar wrote:

Dear colleagues - I'd appreciate some learned comments on the phrase "like a scissor". At school, we learned that "scissors" is a plural nown and you use it either in plural or in conjunction with "a pair of". Google brings up scores of hits on "like a scissor". Have I missed anything in the English language's development?
Thanks for any comments
Barbara


I've never heard of "a scissor" and cannot imagine what it would be. So yes Barbara- "scissors" is always a plural noun.


 

cranium
French to English
+ ...
Always plural Sep 16, 2011

So why did you find it? Here are my three takes:

1) You found content not written by English-speakers. One useful tip is to filter by domain name of an English-speaking country (ex. site:.uk or .ca) to try to narrow your results.

2) Limiting my search to .uk domains, I noticed that "like a scissor" was often followed by some other noun, and that scissor here was a modifier (like a scissor lift, like a Scissor Sisters song, like a scissor jack, like a scissor clip etc.).

3) Google may also bring up grammatically incorrect content written by native speakers! Oh well...

[Edited at 2011-09-16 08:16 GMT]


 

Holly Nathan (X)  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:51
Italian to English
. Sep 16, 2011

hubpages.com › Questions › Education and Science - Copia cacheSimili
I just heard Larry David say "Do you have a scissor?" on Curb Your Enthusiasm, episode 1, season 8 (at the very end when his nose is bleeding). It may be a ...

I agree with Tom though!


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:51
English to German
+ ...
Depends Sep 16, 2011

The device - (a pair of) scissors will always be a plural.

However, there is the possibility that "scissor" is used as a gerund
(Verb 1. scissor - cut with or as if with scissors
cut - separate with or as if with an instrument; "Cut the rope".

Never heard that one, though.


Forgot to add the source:

scis·sor (szr)
tr.v. scis·sored, scis·sor·ing, scis·sors
To cut or clip with scissors or shears.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scissor

[Edited at 2011-09-16 08:25 GMT]


 

Paul Harrison MITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:51
French to English
The words roots Sep 16, 2011

Also from the Free Dictionary:

1350–1400; Middle English cisoures, sisoures < Middle French cisoires < Medieval Latin *cīsōria, plural of Late Latin cīsōrium cutting tool ( see chisel); current spelling by association with Latin scindere to cut (past participle scīssus ), Medieval Latin scīssor tailor

In this sense, each blade is an individual "scissor", hence the "pair of scissors".


 

JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:51
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Old fashioned form? Sep 16, 2011

I have a feeling - though I am not at home and can't check - that in Jane Austen books they refer to the item as a scissor (singular), so there may also be a historical usage that employs this form.

 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 11:51
French to English
+ ...
USA usage Sep 16, 2011

It is common usage in the USA to refer to "a scissor". I have no idea whether it is considered correct usage there but it is very common.

T.


 

Egils Turks (X)  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:51
English to Latvian
+ ...
From Etimology dictionary Sep 16, 2011

scissor (v.) Look up scissor at Dictionary.com
1610s, “to cut with scissors; 1960s with reference to leg motions (in the wrestling sense it is attested from 1968); see scissors.

scissors Look up scissors at Dictionary.com
late 14c., sisoures, from O.Fr. cisoires (pl.) "shears," from V.L. *cisoria (pl.) "cutting instrument," from *cisus (in compounds such as L. excisus, pp. of excidere "to cut out"), ultimately from L. caedere "to cut" (see -cide). Spelling with sc- is 16c., from influence of M.L. scissor "tailor," from L. "carver, cutter," from pp. stem of scindere "to split." Usually with pair of (attested from c.1400) when indication of just one is required, but a sing. form without the -s was occasionally used (mid-15c., cysowre). In Scotland, shears answers for all sizes; but in England generally that word is used only for those too large to be worked by one hand. Sense in wrestling is from 1904. Oh scissors! was a 19c. exclamation of impatience or disgust.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=scissor&searchmode=none


 

MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:51
French to English
+ ...
scissor ? Sep 16, 2011

Some years ago I had to translate the various parts and actions of a special machine for the auto industry.
scissor action, and scissor blade come to mind, I remember the machine clearly, one blade, cutting upholstery in a scissor action

the french word for wood chisel = ciseau (singular) I would think has the same origin

So scissor in the singular is perfectly acceptable, for example "one of the scissor blades is bent"

[Edited at 2011-09-16 09:18 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:51
English to German
+ ...
Same here Sep 16, 2011

MartinPorto wrote:

Some years ago I had to translate the various parts and actions of a special machine for the auto industry.
scissor action, and scissor blade come to mind, I remember the machine clearly, one blade, cutting upholstery in a scissor action

the french word for wood chisel = ciseau (singular) I would think has the same origin

So scissor in the singular is perfectly acceptable, for example "one of the scissor blades is bent"

[Edited at 2011-09-16 09:18 GMT]



After nearly a million translated words of US and/or British texts about printing presses and advanced die cut and finishing machines.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:51
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Stretching the concept... Sep 16, 2011

The only way I would envision "a scissor" would be like this:
http://wsgbrasil.com.br/imagens/guilhotinas/g_Ka36_excentrix_gnova.jpg

Though we call it a "guillotine", here a scissor cuts the paper against an edge, not a blade.

Now, can a one-legged individual wear "a pant" or "a trouser"?

Maybe the Saci Pererê:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saci_(Brazilian_folklore)


 

MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:51
French to English
+ ...
I beg to differ Sep 16, 2011

scissor jack, we do not say scissors jack, or scissors engine, when it is scissor engine
examples in the Shorter Oxford and

the McGraw Hill Dictionay of Scientific and Technical Terms


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:51
English to German
+ ...
To quote Shakespeare Sep 16, 2011

Tom in London wrote:
I've never heard of "a scissor" and cannot imagine what it would be. So yes Barbara- "scissors" is always a plural noun.


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

icon_smile.gif


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Always plural Sep 17, 2011

I have never heard of "a scissor" used in English, and in the phrase "one of the scissor blades is bent" the word "scissor" is not a noun with this function but an adjectival noun (compare "razor blade"). As mentioned, it could be a poor translation from another language - in Portuguese, for example, "a scissor" is used ("uma tesoura") so a machine translation could render it as "a scissor" or "one scissor" (uma = one).

We can say: "I need a new pair of scissors" or "I need some new scissors".

Hadn't considered "scissor" as a verb, but it makes sense - we live and learn every day!


 
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