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scalp

[skalp] /skælp/
noun
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)
6.
to cut or tear the scalp from.
7.
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.
8.
to plane down the surfaces of (an ingot, billet, or slab).
verb (used without object)
9.
Informal. to scalp tickets, stocks, or the like.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English (north) (noun), perhaps < Old Norse skālpr sheath (hence, metaphorically a covering)
Related forms
scalper, noun
scalpless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for scalper

scalp

/skælp/
noun
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 (transitive)
7.
to cut the scalp from
8.
(informal, mainly US) to purchase and resell (securities) quickly so as to make several small profits
9.
(informal) to buy (tickets) cheaply and resell at an inflated price
Derived Forms
scalper, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for scalper
n.

1650s as a type of surgical instrument; 1760 as "one who removes scalps," agent noun from scalp (v.).

Meaning "person who re-sells tickets at unauthorized prices for a profit," 1869, American English; earliest reference is to theater tickets, but often used late 19c. of brokers who sold unused portions of railway tickets. [Railways charged less per mile for longer-distance tickets; therefore someone travelling from New York to Chicago could buy a ticket all the way to San Francisco, get out at Chicago and sell it to a scalper, and come away with more money than if he had simply bought a ticket to Chicago; the Chicago scalper would hold the ticket till he found someone looking for a ticket to San Francisco, then sell it to him at a slight advance, but for less than the official price.] Perhaps from scalp (v.); scalper was a generic term for "con man, cheater" in late 19c. Or perhaps the connecting sense is the bounty offered for scalps of certain destructive animals (attested in New England from 1703) and sometimes Indians (i.e., having only part of something, but still getting paid). Some, though, see a connection rather to scalpel, the surgical instrument.

scalp

n.

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.

v.

"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
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scalper in Medicine

scalp (skālp)
n.
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.
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Slang definitions & phrases for scalper

scalper

noun
  1. A person who scalps tickets (1869+)
  2. A person who places bets and backs bets in such a way that he will win whether the horse wins or loses (1960s+ Gambling)

scalp

verb

To sell tickets at a higher than normal or legal price (1883+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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