How do I describe exactly in what way this hose was cut?

A hose that has been cut in two

We have at least two ways to cut a hose in the middle. To simplify it, I'll use a bottle as an example.

1) Cutting the hose from the opening. In a bottle: from the opening to the bottom, like this one:

A bottle cut in half length-wise

2) Cutting the hose from the middle of the body. In a bottle: at its waist, like this one:

A bottle cut in half width-wise

Now if I say simply: "I cut the hose in the middle of it", it may have these two meanings. How can I describe each of the possibilities separately and accurately (without falling into ambiguity)?

  • 1
    I can't understand the last two pictures. The first can be expressed as "cut the hose in two" or "cut the hose through". Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 3:04
  • 17
    If you say "I cut the hose in two" or "I cut it in the middle", it's highly unlikely that anyone would understand you as meaning that you cut along its whole length. Why would you want to do that? "Cut off" would mean that you cut away a short length at one end. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 9:12
  • 12
    This is the natural way to cut a hose. You can simply say that you cut the hose in half. If you did it the other way, then you would need to explain. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 15:22
  • 2
    In American English, "cut off" can be used to mean "turn off" or "switch off." "Cut off the hose" could suggest turning off the faucet rather than slicing the hose itself. Also, "ut off" for a hose would only be clear if you are talking about a small portion or end of the hose, not cutting it in the middle.
    – barbecue
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:23
  • 2
    Worth noting that there's a further ambiguity in the cut off' bit of your example. Saying: 'I cut off the hose' can be idiomatically used to mean that I stopped the water flow (eg by forcing the hose into a tight hairpin bend)
    – mcalex
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 4:06

14 Answers 14


I cut the hose in half.

I (and I think most people) would assume you were talking about doing what is represented in the first and third pictures if you said that.

To describe, the second, I would say:

I cut (or probably more commonly, split) the hose in half length-wise.

  • This doesn't answer how to ambiguously state that the hose was cut across the shorter cross section, but I think lengthwise is the best term to use for the cut across the long axis.
    – A N
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 13:49
  • 1
    @AN Cutting it "the long way" vs. cutting it "the short way". Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 17:44
  • 3
    @OwenReynolds, that's even more unclear, at least to me. If someone said "cut that hose the long/short way," I'd definitely ask for clarification
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 17:50
  • 2
    @Kevin Maybe it's an Americanism. You could cut a rectangular cake in half either the long or the short way. I think "slicing all the way down along a length of hose so that it can be folded open" is such an odd thing to do that no common phrase can express it without sounding funny. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 22:14
  • @OwenReynolds I hadn't thought of that, but that makes sense to me too (as an American English speaker)
    – A N
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 2:59

@sharken’s answer may be precise, but even as a native English speaker I would have to reach for a dictionary to be certain of the meaning of axial:

I cut the hose along the longitudinal/axial plane.

The initial question you pose is:

How to describe exactly in what way this hose was cut?

And as @KateBunting says in the comments, you can simply say

I cut the hose in two


I cut it in the middle

(this last one depending on whereabouts along its length you cut the hose).

This works because of implicit context: what a hose is (plastic pipe that transfers water) and typical concerns/issues/actions (often hose is provided in a long length that needs to be reduced) and qualities of the hose (it’s usually plastic and amenable to cutting to shorter lengths).

As it’s such an unusual thing to do, if you want to describe cutting the hose in two along its length, opening it up, you’d probably say exactly that. In a paragraph explaining why on earth you wanted to!

EDIT: You might also say

I cut the hose lengthwise

as an alternative to "along its length"

  • 1, These last two that you mentioned, to me as a non-English native speaker, don't imply whether it was cut along its length or along its width. 2. I found this video using the phrase "Cut Pipe Accurately in Half (down the length)" youtube.com/watch?v=eLtcwQQWj54 Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 12:40
  • 5
    "I cut it in the middle" does not indicate without ambiguity whether the cut was a complete cross-section or simply a gash that did not result in two separate pieces.
    – Davo
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 17:44
  • I cut the hose the long way. Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 3:21
  • "I cut the hose in two" two what? Two equal parts? Doesn't designate which cut was performed IMHO Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 8:47
  • "cut it in the middle" may be confused with the similar-sounding "cut it along the middle", which means a lengthwise cut.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 11:25

As a practical matter, I'm assuming that the person shown is cutting out a part of the hose that has a leak, and splicing the two good pieces back together with a hose mender. So you wouldn't say "I cut the hose in the middle", because the leak might not be in the middle of the hose. You'd say "I cut out the leaking part, and spliced the hose back together".

As for the direction of cut, you wouldn't say that you cut ACROSS the hose, because that would be assumed. You would only mention the direction if for some odd reason you cut in a different direction, e.g. "I cut the hose at a 45 degree angle" or "I cut the hose lengthwise".


Something can be split in half, for example a tree

enter image description here

Something can be cut in half, for example an apple

enter image description here

But you could also describe it as being spilt down the middle, because both sides of the apple are equal.

For cylinder objects like hoses, tubes and pipes; in order to avoid any ambiguity say

I cut the [object] in half OR in the middle

I cut through the [object] OR cut the [object] in two pieces

enter image description here

  • Cut through the hose., Nailed it. All the rest is clutter. Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 2:36

Cross Section:

a cutting or piece of something cut off at right angles to an axis also; a representation of such a cutting.

Considering the angle, it's vertical cross section.

So, it could be "doing a vertical cut to the hose."

enter image description here

  • The problem with this that it depends on the orientation of the object. If you stand the torus up, the horizontal and vertical cross sections have now switched. Cutting a hose vertically makes sense if you can see the hose in question, but it's ambiguous if the hose could either be laying on the ground or running up the side of a building. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 14:36
  • @NuclearWang, I think we're talking about a hose. Have you seen the image?
    – shin
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 18:18
  • 1
    Right, my point is that cutting a hose "vertically" is not terribly precise, unless you have the hose in front of you in a particular orientation. With the image, it makes sense, but at that point, you don't need the written instruction anyway. A written instruction to cut a hose "vertically" could mean lay it down and cut it into two hoses, or to hold it vertically and cut it end-to-end. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 19:54
  • That would depend on common sense and practical thinking, I guess. :)
    – shin
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 8:35
  • I think a cut is (at least generally) made, not done.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 11:15

"I cut the hose into two pieces of equal length".

Strictly speaking, splitting the hose down its length will also result in two pieces of equal length, but that interpretation seems very unlikely. If you were concerned about that potential ambiguity, then "I cut the hose into two pieces, each half the original length" removes the ambiguity but is verbose.

  • Why not "into two hoses of equal length"? That would be unambiguous, since the pieces resulting from a longitudinal cut can't be called hoses.
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 18:46
  • @Ruslan - because you are, in fact, cutting it in to "pieces". The fact that, furthermore, the pieces of a hose are *sometimes but hardly always" also known as a "hose" - is irrelevant. There are any number of other referents you could also use (say, "objects") but the fact is you cut things in to pieces, so it is the correct word.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 12:53
  • The objective of the OP is to avoid ambiguity. Two pieces can just as easily not be hoses (when the original hose was cut along its length).
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 12:54

In the context of a hose, cutting in two is unambiguous. For any object in common use, cutting it, without further qualification, means cutting it on the 'easy' plane. When I cut a piece of paper in two, I don't expect to need to qualify it with saying I'm not going to halve its thickness.

The hose is practically one-dimensional, it only has significant length. The 'easy' plane is obviously normal to the length. To any english-speaker, or any human for that matter (excluding possibly mathematicians and topologists), they would be surprised if you meant anything else.

If I was demonstrating a build of something, and had a short piece of hose 40 mm long and 13 mm diameter that was going to be used for some bushings or something, the length is not so overwhelmingly obvious, and I might expect to have to make a distinction between splitting along its length, and cutting it into two 20 mm pieces.


A bottle being three dimensional can be cut along three different planes.

Sagittal plane or longitudinal plane when the bottle is placed upright and cut perpendicular to the ground. It divides the object into left and right portions.

A transverse or axial plane when the bottle is cut to separate it’s top from it’s bottom.

The third type is coronal or frontal plane, which is perpendicular to the ground and when cut divides an object into dorsal and ventral portions. This would not apply to your example of a bottle or a hose being cut.

Your sentence would then be:

I cut the hose along the longitudinal/axial plane.

Edit 1: If it were to be cut along it’s length, would either half still be called a hose?

  • 1
    Applies to anatomy I think, but it makes sense. [+1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittal_plane#/media/…
    – shin
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 11:13
  • 2
    As widely documented, the transverse plane cuts perpendicular to the long direction of an animal. For a human and a standing bottle, the long direction is vertical and a transverse plane is horizontal. For a hose, the transverse plane is vertical. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 15:28
  • @user7761803: I used a dictionary too. I’m sorry I don’t have enough reputation points to post this comment under your answer.
    – sharken
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 17:37
  • 4
    I doubt whether you'd find many native speakers of English who would understand "sagittal", "coronal", "axial" or "frontal" used in this way. You will almost certainly be asked for clarification in any case. Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 3:15
  • +1 for transverse. No-one else mentioned it, but it is the first word I would read for for this purpose. Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 11:59

"I cut the hose in the middle" seems completely clear to me, since in your alternative meaning the position of the cut would be not "in the middle" but "along its whole length".

The "middle" of a hose (or, really, of anything with two ends) is the part roughly halfway between the ends. If that is where the whole of your cut is, then you must have cut across its width.

(If you are concerned that this could be interpreted as cutting partway through the hose, making a place where water could escape but not separating it into two pieces, you could say "I cut the hose into two at the middle.")

  • 2
    "I cut the hose in the middle" does not indicate without ambiguity whether the cut was a complete cross-section or simply a gash that did not result in two separate pieces.
    – Davo
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 17:42
  • @Davo see my last paragraph Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 20:05
  • 1
    That has no effect on the first sentence's ambiguity.
    – Davo
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 20:31
  • Any ambiguity in this usage would be easily resolved by the context in which it is used. One rarely goes around announcing to strangers that one is cutting hoses. It's generally done in a context where you are discussing how you cut the hose, and that context will usually be clear. For purposes of a garden hose, air hose, etc. whether the cut is partial or full doesn't really matter, because both result in a hose that does not work.
    – barbecue
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:27
  • 1
    @Davo English is rife with ambiguity. It's a feature, not a bug.
    – barbecue
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:29

I would describe it as cutting the hose at its midpoint. Since most people consider the length of a hose to be its long dimension, rather than either of the dimensions across its mouth, its intuitive "midpoint" would be halfway down that length. "At" also reinforces that it's a cut in a single location, as opposed to "along" or other prepositions.


Cutting into two hoses

For something like a hose, the first way, you can simply say:

I cut the hose into two.

This implies that you are making two hoses out of one, and sounds very natural. It is the same as the more explicit:

I cut the hose into two hoses.

If you are cutting it directly in the middle you can say:

I cut the hose into two hoses of equal length.


I cut the hose into two equal length hoses.

Cutting lengthwise

For the other way, as other answers have said:

I cut the hose lengthwise.

This is very natural sounding. Again if it is directly in the middle you can be more specific:

I cut the hose lengthwise through the center.


What about

Section the hose in the middle

For me (a native french speaker), section has a strong connotation of cutting a cylindrical item (such as a cable, or here a hose) in the direction depicted in your first image.

  • 1
    I haven't seen this connotation in English before. If you "section" something, I would generally expect that to divide it into more than 2 sections. Also, "in the middle" sounds a bit out of place there; section doesn't usually have a prepositional phrase like that.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 12:22
  • In English it doesn't have that specific connotation. A blueprint could have a longitudinal section and/or a transverse one. And it's rare as a verb outside of medical terminolgy. Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 21:30

Corresponding to your numbered examples:

1) Slice the hose along its length to give two semi-circular sections.

2) Cut the hose to give two smaller[/shorter] hoses of equal length.

"Slice" tends to be for thin pieces (e.g. sliced bread). Cutting a hose longitudinally would give thin pieces.


Transect VERB cut across or make a transverse section in. "tissues connecting the tibia and femur were transected"

  • Something is missing in the first sentence. An article? Is "Transect" literal? Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 13:48
  • 1
    I guess this answer is copying the definition given in a dictionary. That is why the answer doesn't start with a sentence.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 14:34
  • It would be a more helpful answer, if it reported from where the definition was taken.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 14:35

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