Cut 2. To separate into parts with or as if with a sharp-edged instrument; sever: cut cloth with scissors.

According to the dictionary, if some paper is partially or half cut (which means there are no separate parts), we cannot describe it as “the paper is cut” but should describe it as “the paper is half-cut” or “the paper is partially cut” because there are no ‘parts’?


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I’ve posted related question before, but I can’t find where it’s posted.

  • 1
    Those are cuts. The paper is cut, just not all the way across. Jan 13 at 7:58
  • 4
    In BrEng, if you are half-cut, you are drunk. Which might explain your failure to fully cut the paper... Jan 13 at 15:00
  • 2
    Might be worth adding the dictionary link for your definition (assuming it's online). I suspect there are other definitions which cover this case. Just Googling, I find: "make an opening, incision, or wound in (something) with a sharp-edged tool or object", which applies here: the cuts you show are incisions.
    – SusanW
    Jan 13 at 18:20
  • @Michael Harvey I thought “incision” is only used for medical situation.
    – user09827
    Jan 13 at 21:54
  • 2
    The word 'incision' is used by doctors, However, the use of the word is not confined to them. Cambridge Dictionary: incision noun an opening that is made in something with a sharp tool, especially in someone's body during an operation. 'Especially' does not mean 'exclusively'. Jan 13 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


It is still a cut even if it doesn't sever the item into two parts. For example, a "paper cut" is a cut caused by a piece of paper, usually on one's finger; it certainly doesn't sever the finger into two parts. I don't know where you got that definition of "cut", but Merriam-Webster's is "to penetrate with or as if with an edged instrument".

  • I thought “penetrate” only means ‘go through like a bullet’
    – user09827
    Jan 13 at 4:49
  • @user09827 Perhaps you should use a better dictionary. The common definition of "penetrate" is much broader. Jan 13 at 6:07

You can say that the paper is slit or the paper is slit from the middle.

As verbs, the difference between slit and cut is that slit is to cut a narrow opening while cut is to perform an incision on or an opening resulting from cutting.

For example, Let's say you have a banana. If you cut the banana in half, you'll get two pieces. If you slit the banana, you still have one piece, but now this has a small opening in it which is called a slit.

To be honest there isn`t much of a difference between these two words but I hope this helped:)

  • Thank you very much :)
    – user09827
    Jan 13 at 4:34
  • Happy to help :)
    – Ribbit12
    Jan 13 at 4:34
  • 2
    But you can still cut a slit in a banana without cutting it in half. Slit is an uncommon verb in my experience, much more frequently used as a noun. Jan 13 at 16:57
  • 1
    There's a tongue twister that high school students tend to pass around involving slit sheets. Oddly, when I hear "slit", that's what I think of (The sheet is slit. Whoever slit the sheet is a sheet slitter). Other than describing artifacts in women's clothes, you don't hear the word slit very often.
    – Flydog57
    Jan 13 at 18:27
  • @Flydog57 Alternatively, Sixteen sheets slit by Sam the Sheet Slitter. :-)
    – SusanW
    Jan 13 at 18:33

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