I sometimes notice that scissors is being used as a plural word. I guess there is some confusion to it that people can't understand or maybe it's me who doesn't know something about it becoming plural?

As long as I remember "scissors" has always been singular even though it ends with an "s".

  • Scissors is a tool to cut paper, cloth and many other materials.
  • This scissors has proven to be of very high quality.

But I can't imagine it being plural:

  • Are these scissors old?
  • Scissors are mostly made of stainless steel.
  • Do you have the same feeling about clothes, pants, glasses, thanks, riches, jitters? Like those words scissors is a word that can only be plural.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 4:40
  • @Juhasz No, those are plural definitely but scissors is quite different, is it not? Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 4:42
  • Huh. Looks like I spoke too soon. english.stackexchange.com/questions/400138/…. It looks like in a medical context, scissors can be treated as a singular. Outside of those special contexts, though, it's unusual.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 4:48
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Why does it have to be 'scissors' and not just 'scissor'?
    – nick012000
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 4:54
  • It's this pair of scissors, not this scissors. Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


"Scissors" is a plural except in special circumstances.

In Modern English, scissors has no singular form .... [It] is an example of a plurale tantum, or an English word that only has a plural form that represents a singular object. (Plurale tantum is not a plurale tantum: its plural is pluralia tantum). Though pluralia tantum name single objects, they are grammatically plural: "the scissors are on the table," "my pants are in the dryer." The shenanigans of English are myriad.

See https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-of-scissors

  • Why do I use it as a singular? Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:00
  • The only use of the singular “scissor” (as a noun) I can think of is the children’s fantasy novel and TV series “The Borrowers”. It is about a family of tiny people who use half a pair of nail scissors as a knife and call it “the scissor”. But this, of course, is not standard English and is meant to be quirky and amusing. Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:32
  • Because logically we are talking about a single tool. But language is not the result of logic. It is fairly easy to see what happened by looking at the phrase a pair of scissors. The "blades" of the scissors became confused with the entire tool, and obviously the blades are plural, indeed dual. If you were a smith and were asked what you were doing as you shaped the blades, you might very well say that you were making scissors. Language is the result of the accidents of history. Why did p sounds in Latin become f sounds in Proto-Germanic: ped vs foot, pisc vs fish, pater vs father. Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 5:32
  • Welsh people often say 'a scissor' to mean a pair of scissors. Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 19:02

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