scal·​pel | \ ˈskal-pəl How to pronounce scalpel (audio) also skal-ˈpel How to pronounce scalpel (audio) \

Definition of scalpel

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

Examples of scalpel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a shocking recent case, a 66-year-old cancer sufferer with internal bleeding was accidentally set on fire by an electric scalpel during an operation. Irina Vilcu,, "In This European Country, Hospitals Are as Scary as the Coronavirus," 8 May 2020 After the Dis-Spray treatment, the process proceeds as usual: The embalmer inserts a scalpel into the center of the carotid artery and opens an incision just big enough to accommodate a thin steel tube. Victor Llorente, Popular Mechanics, "Inside a New York City Funeral Home’s Mission to Keep Bodies Out of Mass Graves," 24 Apr. 2020 What Meredith sees is Richard in an empty OR holding a scalpel up to his own stomach. Lincee Ray,, "Grey's Anatomy recap: What's wrong with Richard?," 3 Apr. 2020 One of his colleagues was injured by a scalpel during an autopsy and ended up dying from an infection. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Know this name: Ignaz Semmelweis, the doctor credited with championing handwashing," 20 Mar. 2020 The plates are coated with nickel and smooth titanium nitride, which is commonly found on medical scalpels for sharpness retention and on costume jewelry for a blingy finish. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Exclusive: Dyson Launches the Corrale, Its First Straightener," 10 Mar. 2020 But somehow, a denouement that should pierce like a scalpel merely manages to open a paper cut. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "Beware. This stylish ‘Medea’ adaptation offers no escape, for Rose Byrne or for you.," 31 Jan. 2020 The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, a quirky and fascinating repository of battlefield medical artifacts including skull saws and rusty scalpels, is amputating the Confederate flag from its logo. Michael S. Rosenwald,, "Civil War medical museum prepares to amputate Confederate flag from logo," 6 Jan. 2020 Government officials need to work with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. John H. Cochrane, WSJ, "Flatten the Coronavirus Curve at a Lower Cost," 24 Mar. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for scalpel

Time Traveler

The first known use of scalpel was in 1742

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Statistics for scalpel

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scalpel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for scalpel


How to pronounce scalpel (audio) How to pronounce scalpel (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on scalpel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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