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90s Slang You Should Know


[skal-puh l] /ˈskæl pəl/
a small, light, usually straight knife used in surgical and anatomical operations and dissections.
Origin of scalpel
1735-45; < Latin scalpellum, diminutive of scalprum tool for scraping or paring (derivative of scalpere to scratch); for formation see castellum
Related forms
[skal-pel-ik] /skælˈpɛl ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scalpel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ibsen is never happier, and never is his scalpel more skilful, than when he is laying bare the hollowness of shams like these.

    Inquiries and Opinions Brander Matthews
  • Behold, Vitangela, how the scalpel hews that form so loved by thee!

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf George W. M. Reynolds
  • The chances are that she will be less skillful with microscope and scalpel, though this is not certain.

  • "Wait," said Sanchez, lifting the scalpel and tilting his head.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
  • I began with a sheep, and killed it after a day and a half by a slip of the scalpel.

British Dictionary definitions for scalpel


a surgical knife with a short thin blade
Derived Forms
scalpellic (skælˈpɛlɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Latin scalpellum, from scalper a knife, from scalpere to scrape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scalpel

1742, from Latin scalpellum "a surgical knife," diminutive of scalprum "knife, chisel, tool for scraping or cutting," from scalpere "to carve, cut," related to sculpere "to carve," from PIE root *(s)kel- "to cut, cleave" (see scale (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scalpel in Medicine

scalpel scal·pel (skāl'pəl)
A small straight knife with a thin sharp blade used in surgery and dissection.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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