Definition of scalpel in English:



  • A knife with a small, sharp, sometimes detachable blade, as used by a surgeon.

    • ‘Staff members should take precautions to prevent serious injuries caused by needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments or devices used during surgical procedures.’
    • ‘In the mortuary there were scalpels sharp enough to cut through the toughest of leather, along with other surgical instruments that would make a surgeon proud.’
    • ‘A little research in newspaper morgues proved the surgeon had died in a bizarre operating room fight with scalpels when other doctors accused him of unnecessary surgery.’
    • ‘Excess keratin should be pared away with a scalpel blade to expose the floor of the ulcer and allow efficient drainage of the lesion.’
    • ‘For removal without stitches, the surgeon uses a scalpel to scrape off the mole so that it's level with or slightly below the skin.’
    • ‘A suggested method to safely remove a scalpel blade from its handle is depicted in Figure 2.’
    • ‘This is done by scraping the lesion with the edge of a rounded scalpel blade or the edge of a glass slide.’
    • ‘These may range from the practice of making minimal surgical incisions to using electrosurgery, lasers, and ultrasonic scalpels for coagulation of bleeding vessels.’
    • ‘However, there is more to safely disposing of needles, scalpels and blades than safe sharps containers alone.’
    • ‘Scissors, saws, knives, scalpels, hemostats, etc. - such tools are becoming too expensive to throw away after one use.’
    • ‘In medical terminology, scalpels were long, thin bladed knives used mainly in surgical operations.’
    • ‘I examined his knives and the steel used is very similar to that used in surgical scalpels - and just as sharp.’
    • ‘Comparison of the UK rate of spinal surgery with that in other countries shows that UK surgeons are not sharpening their scalpels to the ringing of cash tills.’
    • ‘The only time he was really scared was when he reached England days later with his wound ravaged with infection and a surgeon appeared with two scalpels and informed him the arm would have to go.’
    • ‘Without the advances in anaesthetics, brawny assistants would still be holding patients down while surgeons attacked with scalpels and saws and the patient lay there screaming.’
    • ‘The Hope-based cleaning machine is supposed to sterilise metal surgical instruments such as scalpels and forceps every time they are used.’
    • ‘Disposable syringes, suture needles, and reusable scalpels were among the devices most frequently causing injury.’
    • ‘The first place I found was this tiny medical supply company that sold scalpels, surgical clamps, bone saws and that little hammer they test your reflexes with.’
    • ‘Imagine the field surgeons with scalpels and the firemen with the jaws of life.’
    • ‘When a patient is in surgery, a gas bag icon indicates induction, and a scalpel represents incision.’


Mid 18th century: from French, or from Latin scalpellum, diminutive of scalprum ‘chisel’, from scalpere ‘to scratch’.