What's the word for a deep narrow line?

I'm trying to describe the lines you see on a person's body, particularly the abdomen. When someone has very muscular defined six-pack abs, you can clearly see deep narrow lines in between their abs. How do you describe/call these lines?

4 Answers 4


The terms I've heard used to describe the gap between abs are cut and groove. You might, for example, be striving for deeply cut or well-grooved abs.

Here are two random examples that use these terms. From bodybuilding.com:

We all strive for those etched in stone abs with deep cuts that you could wash clothes on. Get great ab building information right here.

From a bodybuilding guide on streetdirectory.com:

This approach of size enlargement will help you increase groove depth in between each pack once you have already been in fat burning workout routine.

A general term for a deep narrow line is furrow:

1. A trench cut in the soil, as when plowed in order to plant a crop.
Don't walk across that deep furrow in the field.
2. A deep wrinkle in the skin of the face, especially on someone's forehead.
When she was tired, a deep furrow appeared on her forehead.

1. To make (a) groove, a cut(s) in (the ground etc.).
Cart wheels can furrow roads.

  • 'Cut' and 'groove' I normally associate with sharp contours and not with body shapes, but if that's what they call it in the body-building community, then that's what it is. I would rather use 'crease' (but that conjures up folds of fat).
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 17:56

As explained in coleopterist's answer, cut and groove (as in deeply cut and well-grooved) appear to be the terms of art for describing the deep narrow lines of a well-defined abdominal six-pack.

Some words that address the opening question (“What's the word for a deep narrow line?”) include
slit, “A narrow cut or opening; a slot”
slot, “A narrow depression, perforation, or aperture...”
crease, “A line or mark made by folding or doubling any pliable substance; hence, a similar mark, however produced”
crevice, “A narrow crack or fissure, in a rock or wall”
crevasse, “(figuratively) A discontinuity or “gap””
crack, “A narrow opening” or “A thin and usually jagged space opened in a previously solid material”

Note that several of these have well-known vulgar or slang meanings (besides the above senses) and cannot be used straightforwardly for reference to abdominal lines. However, crease may work, if for any reason you want an alternative to cut or groove.

  • I support using "crease".
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 0:44

Since body-builders' speak of being cut seems to come from that, one could say cuts but it sounds quite wrong to me.

Groove strikes me a relatively sexy (it sounds like a nice word, even though I don't find the "cut" look attractive myself), furrow more distanced, and perhaps trench if someone found the look strongly unappealing. ("He flexed and strained, deepening the trenches of his over-muscled abdomen" sounds pretty yucky, no?).


I think 'abdominal furrows' is a nice way to say it.

If you examine the back of your hand, you may see what could be phrased, "venous furrows". If you then extend your fingers, you may see what could be phrased 'tendinous furrows'.

Look where your thumb and wrist meet, extend your thumb, and you will see the 'anatomical snuffbox', it too is a furrow.

The 'six pack' or 'washboard' forms zig-zagging furrows over the abdominal region.

This is different from folds of the skin which are called 'creases'. For example, look at the palm of your hand. These folds of the skin are what the palm reader interprets.

Wrinkles are a type of crease meant to point out folds on the skin due to age.

Creases are folds pushing the skin closer and are often jagged, whereas furrows make a smoother valley. Although, the forehead during an expression of surprise is an example of compressed furrows.

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