Tweezers are tools used for picking up small objects that are not easily handled with the human hands. They are probably derived from tongs, pincers, or scissors-like pliers used to grab or hold hot objects from the dawn of recorded history.

Tweezers make use of two third-class levers connected at one fixed end (the fulcrum point of each lever), with the pincers at the others.

Tweezers have many uses, such as gold panning, in the manual construction or repair of many things such as models, clockwork, surface mount electronics; or in cosmetics for plucking eyebrows.


Two sticks would be used to pinch another stick over a stone age fire. Tweezers are known to have been used in predynastic Egypt. There are drawings of Egyptian craftsmen holding hot pots over ovens with a double-bow shaped tool. Asiatic tweezers, consisting of two strips of metal brazed together were common to Mesopotamia and India about 3000 B.C. These likely served purposes such as catching lice.cite book
title = The Bronze Age
first = Vere
last = Childe
publisher = Biblo & Tannen
year = 1963
id = 0819601233
] There is evidence of Roman shipbuilders pulling nails out of construction with plier-type pincers.


Tweezers come in a variety of tip shapes, including pointed, blunt and tapered. There are also various types of specialised forms of tweezers, including:

*Optical tweezers use light to manipulate microscopic objects as small as a single atom. The radiation pressure from a focused laser beam is able to trap small particles. In the biological sciences, these instruments have been used to apply forces in the pico Newton range and to measure displacements in the nm range of objects ranging in size from 10 nm to over 100 mm.

*Magnetic tweezers use magnetic forces to manipulate single molecules (such as DNA) via paramagnetic interactions. In practice it is an array of magnetic traps designed for manipulating individual biomolecules and measuring the ultrasmall forces that affect their behavior.
*Electric tweezers deliver an electrical signal through the tip, intended to damage hair roots and prevent new hair from growing from the same root.

*Molecular tweezers are noncyclic host molecules that have two arms capable of binding guests molecules through non-covalent bonding.

*Stamp tweezers or Stamp tongs are specially designed tweezers used for handling postage stamps.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • tweezers — (n.) 1650s, extended from tweezes, plural of tweeze case for tweezers (1620s), aphetic of etweese, considered as plural of etwee (1610s) a small case, from Fr. étui small case (see ETUI (Cf. etui)). Sense transferred from the case to the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • tweezers — ► PLURAL NOUN (also pair of tweezers) ▪ a small instrument like a pair of pincers for plucking out hairs and picking up small objects. ORIGIN from obsolete tweeze «case of surgical instruments» …   English terms dictionary

  • tweezers — [twē′zərz] pl.n. [extended < obs. tweeze, surgical set, aphetic for Fr étuis, pl. of étui: see ETUI] [also with sing. v.] small nippers, consisting of two arms, joined at one end, for plucking out hairs, handling little objects, etc.: often… …   English World dictionary

  • Tweezers — Twee zers, n. pl. [See {Tweese}.] Small pinchers used to pluck out hairs, and for other purposes. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tweezers — n. a pair of tweezers * * * [ twiːzəz] a pair of tweezers …   Combinatory dictionary

  • tweezers — [[t]twi͟ːzə(r)z[/t]] N PLURAL: oft a pair of N Tweezers are a small tool that you use for tasks such as picking up small objects or pulling out hairs. Tweezers consist of two strips of metal or plastic joined together at one end …   English dictionary

  • tweezers — noun Small pincers, usually made of metal, used for handling small objects, or for plucking. Syn: pair of tweezers, tongs …   Wiktionary

  • tweezers — twee|zers [ˈtwi:zəz US ərz] n [plural] [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: tweeze case of small instruments (1600 1700), from etweese tweeze (17 18 centuries), from the plural of etwee tweeze (17 19 centuries), from French étui] a small tool that has two… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tweezers — tweez|ers [ twizərz ] noun plural a tool that you use for picking up or removing very small objects. It consists of two narrow pieces of metal joined at one end: She was plucking her eyebrows with tweezers …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • tweezers — [17] French étui denotes a small case for carrying personal articles, small tools and the like (it was descended from Old French estuier ‘keep, shut up, imprison’). English adopted it in the early 17th century as etui or, anglicized, as etwee.… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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