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

Dermaplaning is a super effective exfoliating treatment in which a doctor or aesthetician uses a surgical scalpel to gently scrape off any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and (along with the peach fuzz on your face). Brooke Shunatona, Cosmopolitan, "9 Things to Know Before Dermaplaning Your Face," 18 Oct. 2017 That said, for people with the patience and grit to stick out repeat treatments, Kybella can offer a scalpel-free beauty (and confidence!) boost. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "The Kybella Debate: Why Some Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists Are Reconsidering the Chin-Slimming Injectable," 30 May 2018 Also included in the cargo are experiments that could eventually help cure cancer, simplify crop science and enhance performance for high-tech medical devices like laser scalpels. Marco Santana,, "SpaceX set to launch 6,000 pounds of science, cargo to International Space Station," 29 June 2018 She’s hoping to have the same kind of talent someday with a scalpel. Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown, "Dr. Penrod: Grundy County Speedway driver Christy Penrod racing into future as neurosurgeon," 30 June 2018 Then the video reportedly shows Davis-Boutte making incisions, her scalpel moving rhythmically. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "'Dancing' Georgia doctor is suspended by medical board for being a threat to public health, safety," 10 June 2018 So, what actually is dermaplaning and why on Earth would anyone let another person get that close to their face with a scalpel? Jessica Cruel, SELF, "What’s Up With Dermaplaning? Here’s What Scalpel Facials Are Actually Doing to Your Face," 8 June 2018 Maria and her team stayed five months, working with scalpels, slowly peeling away the paint. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "In Southern Tuscany, a New B&B Shared a Renovation Team With the Sistine Chapel," 30 May 2018 Michelle Trainor was a formidable Mrs. Peachum, though her Brechtian assaults on audience sensibilities often used a hammer where a scalpel might have been more effective. Jeremy Eichler,, "Mack the Knife prowls anew with Boston Lyric Opera," 20 Mar. 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

20 Aug 2018

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

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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!