Sliver of nail / fingernail / toenail

Southwestern

Member
Spanish - Spain
Hi there,

Is it "sliver" the single/best word to refer to fragments of (human) nails once they have been cut/trimmed/clipped/bitten off? Or does it depend on their size or shape?

Let's imagine a situation in which a parent tells a teenager something like that:
"Don't forget to sweep up the slivers after cutting your nails!"

Thank you in advance!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hi, Southwestern. Nail clippings is the term that I normally hear. Of course, that term would not make any sense in a reference to pieces of fingernail that somebody has bitten off.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Nail clippings" (or "nail trimmings") is probably the best term, particularly since it makes the sentence simpler. "Don't forget to sweep up the nail clippings". There is no need for "after cutting your nails" because the situation is obvious.

    "Sliver" might be appropriate, and I can imagine, for example, a detective finding a sliver of a fingernail at a crime scene, for example. Using "sliver" rather than "clipping" might be more accurate, because perhaps the fragment did not originate from someone trimming their nails.
     

    Southwestern

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Hi, Southwestern. Nail clippings is the term that I normally hear. Of course, that term would not make any sense in a reference to pieces of fingernail that somebody has bitten off.
    Thank you, owlman5.

    Would you also use it as a general term, even though scissors have been used, for instance?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're welcome.

    Thank you, owlman5.

    Would you also use it as a general term, even though scissors have been used, for instance?
    It you cut them off with something other than an ordinary pair of nail clippers, nail parings might be a more accurate thing to say, but it sounds fairly odd.

    To tell you the truth, I am not sure what I would use if I ever needed to distinguish slivers of fingernail that I cut off with scissors from slivers that I clipped off with nail clippers. Slivers seems like a safe bet.
     

    Southwestern

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    "Nail clippings" (or "nail trimmings") is probably the best term, particularly since it makes the sentence simpler. "Don't forget to sweep up the nail clippings". There is no need for "after cutting your nails" because the situation is obvious.

    "Sliver" might be appropriate, and I can imagine, for example, a detective finding a sliver of a fingernail at a crime scene, for example. Using "sliver" rather than "clipping" might be more accurate, because perhaps the fragment did not originate from someone trimming their nails.
    Thank you, Uncle Jack.
    I see what you mean.
    As always, the context is everything.
    🙂
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I agree with "clippings" (no need to specify 'nail' here, I think) but a detective might find 'a bit of a nail clipping' (I think we would use 'nail' here, to distinguish it from hair or other clippings).
     
    Last edited:

    Southwestern

    Member
    Spanish - Spain
    You're welcome.


    It you cut them off with something other than an ordinary pair of nail clippers, nail parings might be a more accurate thing to say, but it sounds fairly odd.

    To tell you the truth, I am not sure what I would use if I ever needed to distinguish slivers of fingernail that I cut off with scissors from slivers that I clipped off with nail clippers. Slivers seems like a safe bet.
    Ok. I got it.
    Thank you very much again!
     
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