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By now it’s fairly common to see somebody rocking large gauge ear jewelry pretty much anywhere you go. But talking to that same person might provide more insight than you realize into the variance in terminology that exists across the stretching subculture.

Depending on where you live and whether or not the person you’re talking to has any formal training in body piercing, any of these phrases could be used to reference the act of stretching an ear piercing: stretching, gauging, tapering, expanding, sizing, weighting, scalpelling, cutting, and dead stretching. While some of these phrases denote a particular method of enlargement, many are used interchangeably as a general reference.

Equally varied are the names of the jewelry worn in stretched piercings. A taper might be called a taper, straight taper, expander, plug, or stretcher.

And a piece of large gauge jewelry could be called a tunnel, flesh tunnel, tunnel plug, hollow plug, eyelet, flesh plug, expander, or ear flare.

The great thing is, most of those who have stretched their ear piercings are familiar with any number of these terms, so no matter what you say, chances are they’ll understand you and appreciate the interest in their awesome mods.

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