There must exist some french (or other culinary) term for the various ways to describe the different directions to slice an onion.

I'm looking for two terms:

  1. Slicing across the grain, perpendicular to the poles, parallel to the equator, along the latitude.

    • rings?
  2. Slicing with the grain, in the direction of pole-to-pole, along the longitude.

    • wedges?

What is the shortest, most concise way to describe these techniques?

  • I am not aware of a particular term of art of this, certainly not one that is well known. Of interest: seriouseats.com/2010/04/knife-skills-how-to-cut-an-onion.html – SAJ14SAJ Apr 8 '14 at 21:03
  • 2
    I don't know of a term in English, but in (Japanese) macrobiotic cooking pole to pole is referred to 回し切り (turn-and-cut) and the main way of chopping an onion (as in the second graphic below). – Earthliŋ Apr 9 '14 at 0:32
  • I usually describe longitudinal cuts as root to tip. I don't usually call latitudinal cuts anything because that's almost always most people's 'default' cut. – ElendilTheTall Apr 9 '14 at 8:44

I don't think there's an "official" answer, and using obscure French terms is a good way not to be understood, but for reasonably knowledgeable readers, the most concise terms are definitely slicing latitudinally and longitudinally.

latitude longitude

("first, assume a spherical onion...")

  • Assuming one can remember which is long and which is lat :-) – SAJ14SAJ Apr 8 '14 at 22:38
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    @SAJ14SAJ Easier than learning terms which apply only to onions! (There are a lot of mnemonics for latitude/longitude, e.g. all the longitude lines are long.) – Cascabel Apr 9 '14 at 0:07
  • your second image would be considered a 'frenched' onion, or a 'french cut' onion if you cut along all of those lines (and ended up with lots of wedges). I'm not sure what you'd call it if you simply bisected it, or quartered it, though. – Joe Aug 7 '14 at 17:49
  • 'Petals' has become a popular term for the longitudinal cut onions. – Cindy Jun 19 '18 at 18:12

I call it "slice the onion into rings" for the latitude lines (see Jefromi's answer) and "slice the onion into wedges" for the longitude lines.


There's not a specific name in French for the difference between latitude and longitude slicing. Slicing generally is done longitudinally and referred to as 'ciseler' and if you want it latitudinally, you have to specify. Dicing an onion into small cubes is called 'emincer'. Generally for veg there are also several names for specific cuts like julienne, baton, macédoine,paysanne, jardiniere, tournette... I can't recall all of them off hand.

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