I'm watching SOA and a guy who says "oh, it's a twist-off", referring to the bottle cap that is supposed to be twisted off the bottleneck, rather than being leveraged by a bottle opener.

Then I've realized that I don't know the name of the alternative(s). What'd he say if he'd be expecting a twist-off but discovered that the opposite was the case? Are there several alternatives in this case?

And grammatically prone to nitpickiness makes me wonder if it's correct to spell the term hyphenated, "twist-off" or unhyphenated "twist off". Perhaps both are correct?

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    General Reference. screw cap - a cap that screws onto the threaded mouth of a container such as a bottle or jar. Jan 5, 2014 at 21:40
  • ...if you're grammatically prone to nitpickiness you might like to note that What'd he say if... is a very unusual contraction for what would he say, even in speech. In writing, it doesn't look at all natural. Jan 5, 2014 at 21:46
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    @FumbleFingers Also, recognizing your deep competence in English (sucking-up intended to its fullest), would you care to offer an answer to my question? I'm still stuck on that... Jan 5, 2014 at 21:55
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    @Konrad Viltersten - I hope your teacher meant you can use "What'd" freely in speech, in which case it could mean "What had,", "What did," or "What would" - all down to your pronunciation. In writing it is used to mean "What did". I don't think I have ever seen "What'd" for "What would" or "What had".
    – nxx
    Jan 7, 2014 at 12:38
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    @Konrad Viltersten Indeed, "I'd" and "he'd" etc can equally be contracted as "I/he would/had", but never "did", while "what'd", should be "what did" but not "had" or "would" (although, with poetic license, I guess you could get away with "what had", as in "what'd you done?", although it still sounds strange). And yes, of course, no contractions in formal writing!
    – nxx
    Jan 8, 2014 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


The traditional bottle cap is simple known as a crown cap or crown cork, and there was a time when simply saying bottle cap indicated a crown cap which invariably required a church key or similar tool to remove.

But just as the advent of the push-button telephone requires us to specify rotary phone, and of the mobile phone to say land line or home phone instead of just phone, the popularity of twist-off bottle caps has led the rise of the term pry-off or pry caps among beer enthusiasts. Googling around you will find it in widespread use on homebrew sites, and it used by at least a few brewers as well. By synechdoche, a twist-off can refer to a bottle capped with a twist-off cap, or the sort of brew sold in such bottles.

Twist-off bottle caps are easier to open, but more complicated to manufacture and, it is claimed, an inferior seal. They were therefore adopted primarily for mass market, mass consumption brews— the Coca-Colas and Heinekens and Budweisers of the world. Smaller bottlers would not have found the need to invest in the machinery for twist-off caps, and this has even become a point of differentiation among craft brewers.

In North America, I've almost never heard the term screw cap or screw top applied to crown cap bottles like beer bottles; for beverages they refer mainly to the type of metal cap found on Australian wines, with similar mass market associations.

  • Hello. Can you tell me if I want to give direction to someone to twist wine cork into bottle to close it, can I say "You need to twist-in that cork" or "You need to twist-on that cork"? How would this be opposite with twisting wine cork off the bottle if I want someone to open it? Thanks
    – Boris_yo
    Jan 17, 2015 at 10:56

The modern bottle cap, invented in 1890, was originally known as a 'crown cap'. The ones we use today, it would appear, are the 'pilfer-proof' version invented in 1936. But if I needed to refer to that type of cap, as opposed to a twist-cap,or some other variety, I think I would call it a 'standard crown cap'. I am not clear what is meant by a 'twist-cap', other than those that are replacing corks on wine bottles. Any ale I drink from a bottle is sealed with a standard crown cap.


In the UK twist-off is very rare, but as an alternative we have pop-off caps or pop caps - these are crown caps as mentioned by WS2, but no-one ever uses that terminology in the UK.

  • The important thing is what the beer tastes like.
    – WS2
    Jan 6, 2014 at 11:54

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