Here, I want the word that denotes a cut in a packet of a shampoo. The cut doesn't necessarily be made by those who purchase such shampoos, but by the manufacturers of a particular company. Such cuts are made in packets of shampoos, so that the people who purchase can easily tear them for the use, without even the need of any scissors.

I don't think that the word "cut" would work here, as it usually denotes making an opening, incision, or wound in (something) with a sharp-edged tool or object.

In this image, you can see a [cut] on the upper right side of the packet.

picture of water pouring into a glass

  • 9
    try: "tear here" notch.
    – Lambie
    Sep 26, 2018 at 12:55
  • 14
    @Lambie "Notch" will do on its own. No tears. :)
    – Lawrence
    Sep 26, 2018 at 13:27
  • 4
    @Lambie I was alluding to Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo tagline "no more tears". :P
    – Lawrence
    Sep 26, 2018 at 13:35

4 Answers 4


The technical term is indeed a tear notch as mentioned by Lambie

Greener Corporation in Bayville, New Jersey, USA say

A tear notch makes packages produced on vertical form/fill/seal baggers easier to open. This small slit in the end seal allows consumers to easily tear the film in order to gain access to the product.

The slit is produced by a carbide notch punch that is affixed in the sealing face of the jaw. The carbide material provides exceptional durability, and the jaw mounted design provides significant cost benefits when compared to notch punches that are attached to the machine knife.

The tear notch can be located wherever desired on the end seal of the bag and can be integrated with a tear strip feature or “Open Here” graphics.

Greener corporation mentions a slit

slit: a straight, narrow cut or opening in something

however, the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes slit as

a long narrow cut or opening

Notches on packaging are generally small

You could possibly call it a nick

nick: a small notch, groove, or chip

Turpack, a company which manufactures packaging machines advertises nick knives as a feature on their machines. Referring to tear notches, they say

It is a small cut that extends to the adhesive bead in the edge of the disposable packaging. The package is torn, starting from the notch in order to open it. The product is easily emptied from the formed cavity. Foods, medical products and beverages reach the customer extremely simply and quickly with easy open tear notch. Apart from this, we can produce serrated notch and laser notch.

The type of packet shown in the question is known as a sachet.

Alibaba.com advertises a number of them. Larger sachets are called pouches.

  • 4
    Notch and nick are both good, but slit feels wrong. A slit conjures up the image of a very three-dimensional thing (cylindrical or similar) being cut into with a long and narrow (and possibly also deep) cut: the smallness/narrowness of the cut is only on one (or possibly two) axis. A tear notch, conversely, is small on all axes: it is neither deep, not wide, nor long. Sep 26, 2018 at 16:04
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    @JanusBahsJacquet A "nick" sounds more idiomatic than "notch" to me. But then in Britain "nick" is a versatile word. People who "nick things" end up in "the nick".
    – WS2
    Sep 26, 2018 at 16:20
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    @WS2 I don’t really have any idiomatic preference here – either sounds quite natural to me. If describing a cut of the general size and shape of this one, I think I’d be more inclined to use nick for an accidental cut (you nick yourself shaving, and a vase might have a nick on the base) and notch for a deliberate one (you mark something with a notch in a beam), but I wouldn’t consider a deliberate nick unidiomatic either. Sep 26, 2018 at 16:27
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    @Fattie "'slit' is indeed completely, totally, wrong and should be edited out of this otherwise excellent answer." Except that it appears in a quote from an external (authoritative... well, more authoritative than Random People On The Internet™) source. I'm generally of the opinion that we should be quoting sources accurately, warts and all, not censoring the parts of the source material we don't like.
    – FeRD
    Sep 27, 2018 at 5:53
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    The word slit is used in describing or explaining the tear notch. Mind you - it just occurred to me that sometimes tear notches are indeed, uh, tear slits! they are slitform rather than notchform.
    – Fattie
    Sep 27, 2018 at 11:50

Perhaps a perforation:

a small hole or row of small holes punched in a sheet of paper, e.g., of postage stamps, so that a part can be torn off easily.

  • 1
    Rick, I think that's a similar thing, but "notch" is probably better here. Great answer though!
    – Fattie
    Sep 26, 2018 at 20:06
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    To me, a "perforation" implies a hole that pierces into something, perhaps even all the way through it. A perforated shampoo packet would be one that has a hole in it and is leaking all over.
    – user89175
    Sep 27, 2018 at 5:50

It's absolutely 100% true that "tear notch" is the industry term.

However it is also absolutely 100% true that no civilian (ie, not in the packaging industry) would refer to it as a "tear notch" per se.

You'd refer to it as the "thing where you tear it open", the "place where you open it" or the "starter thingy for tearing it open" or "the nick thing where you tear it open" or "the thingy where you tear it open" or indeed, perhaps, maybe, the "opening notch" or "nick".

Note. It is very, very, common in English that we don't have a specific word for something, so we call it a "thingy" or a "thingy -term", or just blab about it in a long-winded way using a descriptive phrase.

So understand that with SWRs such as this, very often the correct and real answer is "we don't have a clear, agreed, word for that in English."

(This is such a feature of English, that a handsome/fascinating member of this site once asked as a question, what actually is the term for such constructions:

Term for using "thingy-esque" phrases rather than a common word )

Again in short:

"tear notch" is absolutely the industry term but be aware nobody, at all, ever, would use that exact phrase (outside of the packaging industry).

Be aware that we do NOT have a clear agreed word for that thingy in English (outside of the packaging industry), we would use an ad-hoc multi-word description.

  • 11
    The ad-hoc multi-word description would be quite likely to be "notch" (even from somebody who didn't know that the technical term involves that word). Sep 26, 2018 at 22:46
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    Hey David. Yes, as it says. Maybe some people would use that, I don't think with many. (I, myself, wouldn't use that. I'd say something like "the thing that helps you tear it open" or "that hole thingy on the edge where you pull it open" etc.). The point is the phrase "tear notch" would never be used by a civilian.
    – Fattie
    Sep 26, 2018 at 23:11
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    "However it is also absolutely 100% true that no civilian (ie, not in the packaging industry) would refer to it as a "tear notch" per se." False. I'm a computer programmer. I have nothing to do with the packaging industry. And I most assuredly do call it a "tear notch", because that's what it is: It's the notch where you tear open the bag. The tear notch. I don't know why you feel this is such an esoteric or jargony term, but it really isn't.
    – FeRD
    Sep 27, 2018 at 5:57
  • 1
    I'd probably call it a "tear notch" if for some reason "notch" alone wasn't clear.
    – Chris H
    Sep 28, 2018 at 8:47

It's an intentionally produced indentation at the edge of the packet. That makes it a notch.

If I wanted to refer to that part of the packet, that's what I would call it: "the notch".

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