The earliest English attestation of the word scissors is from 1425, when it was spelled cysour. The Oxford English Dictionary lists 110 different spellings of the word since then, with some of the more common ones being sissars, sesours, sisours, sissers, cizzars, cyssers, and scizzors. The sc- formation emerged due to a folk etymological association with the otherwise unrelated Latin word scissor, which referred to butchers or gladiators (who, like the instrument, were associated with cutting). The word, usually used in the plural since the thirteenth century, comes from Old French cisoires, meaning "shears". That's thought to come from caesus, the past participle of the Latin verb caedere, "to cut", and caedere derives from the Proto-Italic word kaido and the Proto-Indo-European word keyhd, also meaning "to cut". The name for the swimming kick is from 1902.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.