scal·​pel | \ ˈskal-pəl also skal-ˈpel \

Definition of scalpel

: a small straight thin-bladed knife used especially in surgery

Examples of scalpel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Then, your doctor will use a scalpel to pierce the stye and remove the contents of the bump with a curette. Korin Miller, SELF, "Sam Smith Reveals He Had Surgery to Remove a Stye," 15 Jan. 2019 Usually your doctor will use an instrument like a scalpel to remove the actual mole and surrounding tissue if necessary, Dr. Goldenberg says. Korin Miller, SELF, "What You Can Expect Before, During, and After Mole Removal," 28 July 2018 As for the surgical tools, the scalpel is used to scrape the plaster, and the syringe to inject materials into it. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Keith Haring Mural Is on the Mend at Brooklyn Hospital," 25 Oct. 2018 While these are not easy afflictions to heal, and perhaps impossible to cure, one of the greatest threats to recovery remains the stubborn (and often idealistic) unwillingness of those who wield the scalpels to cut away the sickness. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Twitter is wrong: facts are not enough to combat Alex Jones," 10 Aug. 2018 In a new installment of 'The Younger Games,' actress Kelly Deadmon visits the Elite Body Sculpture office of Dr. Aaron Rollins for Airsculpt Liposuction, which requires no needles, scalpel, general anesthesia, or stitches. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "This New Liposuction Technique Will Blow Your Mind," 7 June 2017 The best way to remove peach fuzz is with dermaplaning, which is when a dermatologist or aesthetician uses a surgical scalpel to gently scrape unwanted peach fuzz and dead skin from the face. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "Facial Hair Removal Guide: How to Remove Every Unwanted Hair From Your Face," 10 Oct. 2018 But keep in mind: When the tool at hand is a scalpel and not a needle, the result isn't going to wear off in a few months. Jens Ingvarsson, Allure, "What Is the Lip Lift? Experts Explain the Plastic Surgery Procedure," 15 Aug. 2018 Then the video shows Dr. Davis-Boutte making incisions, her scalpel moving rhythmically. Christina Caron, New York Times, "Doctor Who Danced During Surgery Is Suspended by Georgia Medical Board," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scalpel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of scalpel

1742, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scalpel

Latin scalpellus, scalpellum, diminutive of scalper, scalprum chisel, knife, from scalpere to scratch, carve

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scalpel

Statistics for scalpel

Last Updated

5 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scalpel

The first known use of scalpel was in 1742

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scalpel



English Language Learners Definition of scalpel

: a small knife with a thin, sharp blade that is used in surgery


scal·​pel | \ ˈskal-pəl also skal-ˈpel\

Medical Definition of scalpel

: a small straight thin-bladed knife used especially in surgery

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on scalpel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scalpel

Spanish Central: Translation of scalpel

Nglish: Translation of scalpel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scalpel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scalpel

What made you want to look up scalpel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!