See more synonyms for scalp on
  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.
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).
verb (used without object)
  1. Informal. to scalp tickets, stocks, or the like.

Origin of scalp

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

Related Words for scalping

fleece, overcharge

Examples from the Web for scalping

Contemporary Examples of scalping

Historical Examples of scalping

British Dictionary definitions for scalping


  1. a process in which the top portion of a metal ingot is machined away before use, thus removing the layer containing defects and impurities


  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
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
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 scalping



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.



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scalping in Medicine


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