What are verbs for pliers?

Like, can it be a verb? Such as they "pliers" something.

Or, do one use pliers to clip, tweeze, pince, grip, or slam something? I am not even sure if these are proper verbs.

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


You can see in a dictionary that "pliers" is a plural noun (like scissors). But it isn't a verb.

The usual verb would be "grip". But pliers can also be used to "hold", "cut", "clip", "squeeze", "fold" and so on. You can do more than one thing with pliers!

"Pinch" is usually used of skin, you might pinch your finger with pliers by accident, but not usually on purpose, "tweeze" is a back form from "tweezers" (and means "use tweezers", not pliers). "Pince" is non-standard (probably a back-form from pincer), the standard verb there is "pinch". "Slam" means "whack" or "hit", that's not right at all.

The origin of pliers is from "to ply" meaning "to fold" Originally their purpose was to fold metal wires or bars, but this is not common now.

  • I was studying the origin and meaning of the word using Lexico - pliers, pincers, pinch - and you have avoided me the embarrasment of suggesting "to pinch". Thanks! :-)
    – RubioRic
    May 28, 2020 at 8:45
  • 1
    The really interesting origin (for me) is "tweezers": from french "etui" to English "etwee" "box for small tools (like tweezers)" to "tweeses" then "tweezers" (The meaning transferring from the box to the contents, and "-er" making it look like an agent noun) then "tweeze" back-formed by removing the supposed suffix. Etui is itself a back formation from estuier meaning "put aside", "keep for later"
    – James K
    May 28, 2020 at 9:45
  • Wow, great evolution. I've checked a bit the word etui from my Spanish point of view, and according to our main dictionary, our "estuche" (tweeze = etui = estuche) comes also from France, it's not inherited directly from Latin. Thanks for the extra explanation
    – RubioRic
    May 28, 2020 at 11:42

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