15

What's the name for the string attached to a zipper to help close or open a bag?

I don't know the name in my native language. Example of use:

I'd like to add xxx on my bag's zippers.

Or

I would like to purchase a bag with xxx.

IMG:

2

10 Answers 10

18

The bit that you pull on to open or close a zipper is called a pull or a tab. The term can be used for a metal or plastic part that is permanently attached to the body of the zip, or to a piece of string that is looped through the body of the zip, as in the OP's photo.

There is no one term that covers exclusively string tabs that are connected directly to the zip body, however there are numerous phrases that are used to describe string extensions to or replacements for an existing metal or plastic tab.

This NGram graph shows that in American English, pull is about twice as widely used as tab, and that puller hardly registers at all. This Ngram graph shows that in British English, tab is marginally more common than pull, and puller does not occur at all.

Other NGram graphs show that, when used on its own, zip is somewhat more common than zipper in American English and significantly more common in British English. When used in a collocation with tab or pull, however, zipper is very much more more widely used than zip in both AmE and BrE.

7
  • 4
    zip has many meanings unrelated to the zipper, and I (AmE) have never once heard it used as the name of the fastener. Feb 1, 2021 at 3:18
  • 3
    I would say that anything attached to the zipper slide can be a pull, but only a solid thing (not a string) can be a tab.
    – hobbs
    Feb 1, 2021 at 6:52
  • @hobbs As I mentioned, Americans like you do prefer pull. The Cambridge Dictionary definition that I referred to says that a tab can be made of "paper, metal, etc"... and then defines it in terms of function. The Merriam-Webster defines it as "a small flap or loop by which something may be grasped or pulled", but does not specify what it is made of.
    – JavaLatte
    Feb 1, 2021 at 8:05
  • 2
    In British English it might also be called a 'tag'. Feb 1, 2021 at 13:28
  • 3
    @chrylis-cautiouslyoptimistic- in BrE the fastener is almost exclusively called a zip, and not a zipper. Calling it a zipper would mark you out as speaking AmE (or possibly some other non-BrE English) - see books.google.com/ngrams/…. I think the NGram in the answer might also be broken as it looks for "zipper tag", "zipper pull" in BrE, rather than "zip tag", "zip pull" - neither of which actually seem quite right either.
    – abligh
    Feb 2, 2021 at 7:53
7

PULL (noun)

Any device meant to be pulled, as a lever, knob, handle, or rope

a zipper pull

4

The term 'zipper' (or 'zip' in British English) incorporates the entire workings including the teeth that interlock. The part that you pull on to open or close the zip is called the 'pull' or 'zipper pull'. Some answers seem to be telling you that you are looking for the word 'pull', but this is part of every zipper.

What you are referring to is some kind embellishment on the pull. This is commonly called a tassel, especially when it is decorative.

4

Great suggestion from Reddit user, songsmyth:

The metal or plastic tab you grasp that is a permanent part of the zipper is the zipper pull. Something else attached to the zipper pull, whether a tab, cord, string, or whatever, is a zipper pull extender or extension. Example 1 (mirror), Example 2 (mirror).

Thanks to the words suggested in the other answers, I was able to Google a bit and found another good suggestion: Zipper Pull Cord Loop, which better communicates the fact that it is a loop.

Example (mirror):

IMG:

Example of a different shape: T-Shape Zipper Pulls (mirror)

IMG:

3

If I had to refer to it as anything, I'd probably call it the "puller" or the "pull string" or if that wasn't clear I might say "the string to pull the zipper". If I were feeling a bit fancy I might use "drawstring" (though I think this is technically incorrect). If not I might say "that bit of string that is attached to the zip".

I don't think it has a regular "name" in common use, outside of factories where they make or design zips.

1
  • 3
    Merriam Webster describes a drawstring a "a string, cord, or tape inserted into hems or casings or laced through eyelets for use in closing a bag or controlling fullness in garments or curtains" merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drawstring
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 31, 2021 at 4:34
3

These can be bought online under the name zipper tag they can also be called zipper pulls. That doesn't mean that other answers are wrong. There may be several different names in use.

3

I call it a...

lanyard
a long piece of cord (= thick string), etc. worn around the neck, on which a security pass, ID card, key, etc. is hung

Here are lots of written instances of the collocation zipper lanyard in Google Books.

4
  • 3
    I would not call it a lanyard, those are much longer than the pulls OP indicates. (I am a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers and happen to have written a booklet on lanyards and in my research for that I never met the word lanyard used for the 5 cm / 2" pulls/tags. It is used for longer ones, like that can be used for a zip on the back of a diving suit which is closer to 50cm / 20".)
    – Willeke
    Jan 31, 2021 at 16:51
  • To me, lanyard refers only to a cord used to help you carry an object, or keep from dropping or losing it. Jan 31, 2021 at 17:20
  • @Willeke, JeannePindar: The "original, literal" (nautical) meaning of lanyard is A short piece of rope or line made fast to anything to secure it, or as a handle (from the full OED). Obviously I'm far from alone in being happy to extend the usage to "extended puller for zip", as witness all those written instances in my Google Books link. I see plenty of people are upvoting answers relating to pull, puller, but the problem with those is they call to mind the "built-in tag/tab" part of the zipper "slider" (the bit you tie your lanyard to). Jan 31, 2021 at 17:38
  • @Willeke (In the US, mid-90s, east coast) We used "lanyard" at summer camp to refer to a "boondoggle"... Very specifically, a short strip made out of plastic craft lace that can be attached to things. They would often end up attached to zippers, because tbh there aren't many other uses for them, especially when you are 10. Length was generally around 4-6 inches for the woven part and maybe another 4-6 for the loose tail on the end (although it really depended on time and how fast you were!). Especially popular was attaching them to zippers on backpacks. Feb 1, 2021 at 22:06
2

In addition to the words "pull" and "tab" given, there is "toggle" (especially "zipper toggle"). Maybe an Australian-ism, but it's the first word that came to mind for me.

1

According to Scarf Lady, it's called a "zip pull"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=88&v=EnBorg67ttU

1

As a native British English speaker, I don't have any specific word for this, and would come up with an ad hoc description on the fly. Probably something like "cord", "string", or "tab"

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .