Admission tickets such as those for the cinema are often composed of a part which will remain to the customer, and a part which will remain to the attendant.

  • What are the two parts called?
  • What is the action of separating the two parts called?
  • What is the word for the dotted line, usually with small holes in it to facilitate the process?
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    – Agos
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 10:08

4 Answers 4


As to the first, the part the customer retains is called a stub (the returned portion of a ticket), and the other part is sometimes known as the counterfoil (though the term can be applied to other things similar to tickets, such as a money order). The second could be tearing or detaching (there isn't a specific term just for tickets, that I know of), and the third is a perforation.

Edit: since the term counterfoil has been found, I decided to go ahead and put it in my answer to make it complete — but the credit goes to user11761.

  • 1
    "Heaven itself has sent you on its holy errand, and you shall have a chromo." — Mark Twain, "On Cooper's Prose Style". Also, +1 for your trouble.
    – Robusto
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 18:46

Counterfoil is the part of the ticket that is retained by the issuing authority.

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    Interesting. It is the right word in some cases, though stub is offered as a synonym, in the sense that you tear part of the ticket out of a book and retain the stub/counterfoil. Seems like the correct word might be a matter of perspective, from the customer's or the issuer's. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 18:58
  • I'm surprised nobody got this. 'Counterfoil' can refer to the 'retained part' of many items - tickets/challans/any other small forms encountered in everyday transactions. This serves as a record and helps facilitate easier restitution in the event that a dispute arises. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 19:03
  • Several sources note that its use is chiefly British which would limit exposure. I've worked in printing and print graphic design here in the US for most of a decade, designing and creating hundreds of multipart forms and perforated books of tickets, and had never heard the word. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 19:14
  • I'm quasi-associated with printing myself, but yes, it might be a Brit/Commonwealth thing. Its certainly commonplace in India. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 19:20
  • (Not that it's terribly important, but I meant to write "I worked" since it's been more than 15 years since I left print. The popularity of the term here in the US may have changed over time.) Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 21:39

Once detached from one another, the detached parts are stubs. Generally, the word is used in the context of the half the customer retains: "When you go to the restroom, remember to bring your ticket stub with you, or you may not be allowed back in." If there's a special word for the half the box office retains, I've never heard it.

Edit, because quotations from the OED make everything better: The Oxford English Dictionary finds ticket stub in use by Ellery Queen in The Roman Hat Mystery (1929): "You'll be looking for ticket-stubs. Anything resembling half a ticket." The earliest definition given for stub, from the year 967, is as a synonym for "stump" (of a tree); many or most of the definitions that have evolved since then retain the sense of a small thing that has been severed from a larger thing—like a ticket stub.

Edit 2: Here's a reference from 1887, in a joke that does not seem to have aged very well since then:

"BATH-HOUSE ROBBER: No use lookin' fer anythin' here, Bill. Ticket stub ter one of Joe Cook's lectures, an' a poker chip. Busted drummer from Boston!"

I guess you had to be there.

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    "Bath-House Robber" is someone who goes through another person's clothes, rummaging around for money or for something else to steal, while that person is bathing in a private room or cubical or in one of several tubs in a large room, an old counterpart to showering at the gym. "Bill" means Joe, Bub, or Mister. "Ter" means to. Lectures were commonly attended before documentary movies existed. "Drummer" in the signature means traveling salesman. This would, apparently, be written on a note and placed on Busted's pile of clothes. (I've watched a lot of westerns).
    – PvtBuddie
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 3:18

The customer's part is usually called a stub. (For example, restaurants near cinemas will sometimes advertise a discount "with a ticket stub".) The act of separating the two parts is sometimes called "tearing"; alternatively, the overall act of a gatekeeper being handed your ticket, tearing it, and giving you your part back is sometimes "taking a ticket", same as if you didn't get a part back.

I don't know of a specific word for the part the venue keeps.

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    And the dotted line can be called the perforation.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 18:22
  • Also, in some situations, tickets can be validated, though that's often an action the customer performs, rather than a ticket-taker.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 18:23
  • @Marthaª, I'm used to validation being something that a business does to a ticket that is then returned to you -- for example, a store validating a partking ticket so you don't have to pay. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 19:05

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