Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

scalp

[skalp]
noun
  1. the integument of the upper part of the head, usually including the associated subcutaneous structures.
  2. a part of this integument with the accompanying hair, severed from the head of an enemy as a sign of victory, as by some North American Indians and others during the colonial and frontier periods in the U.S.
  3. any token of victory.
  4. the integument on the top of the head of an animal.
  5. Informal. a small profit made in quick buying and selling.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to cut or tear the scalp from.
  2. Informal.
    1. to resell (tickets, merchandise, etc.) at higher than the official rates.
    2. to buy and sell (stocks) so as to make small quick profits.
  3. to plane down the surfaces of (an ingot, billet, or slab).
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. Informal. to scalp tickets, stocks, or the like.
Show More

Origin of scalp

1250–1300; Middle English (north) (noun), perhaps < Old Norse skālpr sheath (hence, metaphorically a covering)
Related formsscalp·er, nounscalp·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scalper

Historical Examples of scalper

  • Once again the Scalper had opened a bloody passage for himself.

    The Border Rifles

    Gustave Aimard

  • The Scalper was carried away by the stream of fugitives, and disappeared with them.

    The Freebooters

    Gustave Aimard

  • On hearing these words the Scalper rushed furiously on his enemy.

    The Freebooters

    Gustave Aimard

  • "That is exactly what I came to propose to you," the Scalper said quietly.

    The Freebooters

    Gustave Aimard

  • Each curiously extended his ear to hear the Scalper's answer.

    The Freebooters

    Gustave Aimard


British Dictionary definitions for scalper

scalp

noun
  1. anatomy the skin and subcutaneous tissue covering the top of the head
  2. (among North American Indians) a part of this removed as a trophy from a slain enemy
  3. a trophy or token signifying conquest
  4. hunting, mainly US a piece of hide cut from the head of a victim as a trophy or as proof of killing in order to collect a bounty
  5. informal, mainly US a small speculative profit taken in quick transactions
  6. Scot dialect a projection of bare rock from vegetation
Show More
verb (tr)
  1. to cut the scalp from
  2. informal, mainly US to purchase and resell (securities) quickly so as to make several small profits
  3. informal to buy (tickets) cheaply and resell at an inflated price
Show More
Derived Formsscalper, noun

Word Origin for scalp

C13: probably from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse skalpr sheath, Middle Dutch schelpe, Danish skalp husk
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

Word Origin and History for scalper

n.

1650s as a type of surgical instrument; 1760 as "one who removes scalps," agent noun from scalp (v.).

Meaning "person who re-sells tickets at unauthorized prices for a profit," 1869, American English; earliest reference is to theater tickets, but often used late 19c. of brokers who sold unused portions of railway tickets. [Railways charged less per mile for longer-distance tickets; therefore someone travelling from New York to Chicago could buy a ticket all the way to San Francisco, get out at Chicago and sell it to a scalper, and come away with more money than if he had simply bought a ticket to Chicago; the Chicago scalper would hold the ticket till he found someone looking for a ticket to San Francisco, then sell it to him at a slight advance, but for less than the official price.] Perhaps from scalp (v.); scalper was a generic term for "con man, cheater" in late 19c. Or perhaps the connecting sense is the bounty offered for scalps of certain destructive animals (attested in New England from 1703) and sometimes Indians (i.e., having only part of something, but still getting paid). Some, though, see a connection rather to scalpel, the surgical instrument.

Show More

scalp

n.

mid-14c., "top of the head (including hair)," presumably from a Scandinavian source (though exact cognates are wanting) related to Old Norse skalli "a bald head," skalpr "sheath, scabbard,"from the source of scale (n.1). French scalpe, German, Danish, Swedish skalp are from English. Meaning "head skin and hair as proof of death or a victory trophy" is from c.1600.

Show More

scalp

v.

"to cut off (someone's) scalp," 1670s, from scalp (n.), originally in reference to North American Indians. For ticket re-selling sense, see scalper. Related: Scalped; scalping. Cf. German skalpern, Danish skalpere, Swedish skalpera. French scalper is from Germanic. Similarity to Latin scalpere "to cut, carve" is accidental.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scalper in Medicine

scalp

(skălp)
n.
  1. The skin covering the top of the head.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.