FW: More 9.11-Related Words

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Sep 27 10:52:16 UTC 2001

The difference between a box cutter and a utility knife is that the first is
thin and very simple, just a thin metal sleeve with a slot for a razor blade
held by a very thin metal frame.  The frame slides within the sleeve, and
the blade is exposed at one end.  It was made for people who open boxes as
part of their job, as stockers at grocery stores.  It is very small and
light, and so easily concealable -- the reason it became popular with street
hoods, and now hijackers.  A utility knife is a much larger and sturdier
thing, with a true handle that fits well in the hand.  It too has a sliding
frame within, and typically uses one-sided razor blades, but with stouter
blades than do box cutters.  It is used in construction, for cutting carpet,
wallboard, etc.  They are also called Stanley knives, certainly in the UK,
and in parts of the US, as Stanley Tools sold many of them with their name
on the side.

Frank Abate

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of Bruce Dykes
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 3:40 AM
Subject: Re: More 9.11-Related Words

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Kysilko" <pds at VISI.COM>
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 00:37
Subject: Re: More 9.11-Related Words

> Box cutter
> Although it was not hard to guess what this is, the term was new to me.  I
> know the implement as a "utility knife".  Is this regional, or am I just
> overly sheltered?

AKA "razor knife".

"Box cutter" has been current in the NYC are for probably about seven years,
if not a little more, due to its popularity as weapon among teenagers and
school students. A Lexis-Nexis search should get you plenty of hits in the
Daily News and NY Post.

As far as outside NYC goes, I couldn't say.


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