In Slovenian, we have a nice word for this called "nadmera" (literally "above measurement/dimension").

This usage is for woodworking, and it arises when working with solid wood. To simplify, it has a rough cut and the final cut: The rough cut's dimensions are the final cut's dimensions plus the "extra added length".

If there is no such word, what would be an equivalent, perhaps something like "rough cut extra"?

  • 1
    Maybe "margin"?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 17:16
  • 3
    It's the kind of need that attracts nonce words in shops; one could call it "blade width", "wastage", "sawdust length", or any of a raft of others, and expect to be understood, in a professional woodworking shop. Shops differ in their cultures, and in their terms. There may well be a standard term in the UK or USA, though I don't know of one, and I would doubt that both places would use the same term even if there were one. Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 17:20
  • @DanBron That's the word! Probably not the absolute exact word but "Rough cut margin" should work nicely. Can't believe I couldn't think of that, I work with CSS fairly often.
    – Sašo
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 17:45
  • @JohnLawler You have a good point, though blade width is a different thing (it is generally not considered unless working with half or fullly automatic panel cutting machines or optimisation) and wasteage either refers specifically to leftover parts that cannot be used elsewhere or the total material lost (including sawdust) during production. Sawdust length is new to me and it seems like the right term, but using it in this context could create confusion.
    – Sašo
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


Margin, already mentioned in a comment, is relevant. From en.wiktionary, one of its senses is “A permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits”, and another sense, less relevant, is “The edge defining inclusion in or exclusion from of a set or group”.

It may be preceded by error, as in error margin, slop, slack, or allowance.

In practice, you might hear “The rough cut's dimensions are the final cut's dimensions plus a skosh”. Skosh (“A tiny amount; a little bit; tad; smidgen; jot”) is one of many synonyms that Wikisaurus lists for terms related to the sense an amount of small or insignificant quantity.

Edit: Regarding Niall's question, “Wouldn't "Margin for error" be the common phrase?”, I agree that might be the case but cannot say for sure. Google ngrams for error margin,margin of error,margin for error is interesting but not helpful without further research, and the sentences “The rough cut leaves a 2 mm error margin” and “The rough cut leaves a 2 mm margin for error” have similar but different meanings. I'd not use either sentence myself, but would instead speak of tolerance (“The variation or deviation from a standard, especially the maximum permitted variation in an engineering measurement” — en.wiktionary), as in “The tolerance for the rough cut is +2/-0 mm”, meaning that the rough cut is allowed to be as much as 2 mm farther than its target, and is not allowed to be below its target length.

  • Wouldn't "Margin for error" be the common phrase?
    – Niall
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 20:19
  • AFAIK both tolerance and marging of error (the first usually used in engineering and the latter in statistics...I think) both refer to a variance that could result in a value that is either grater or less than the desired value, while the question specifically asks for words/phrases only for greater than.
    – Niall
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 21:19
  • Tolerance works either way; it often is specified symmetrically, eg ±1 mm, but often is asymmetric or one-sided, eg +0.004,-0 for a bearing ID, or -0.004,+0 tolerance for a shaft OD Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 21:39
  • Just to be clear, margin is not tolerance; it exists because of nature of the material. After you cut the required pieces from (generally dried) lumber, it deforms, sometimes just so slightly, other times to unbelieveable extremes. This can and does happen often while sawing lumber, which is why splitters/riving knives exist to prevent injury. After the initial cut, there is generally a waiting period for the material to normalize (tensions and water content), after which it is planed or just cut again to the exact dimensions. Without the margin to work with, you couldn't work accurately.
    – Sašo
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 18:32

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