c.1300, presumably from a Scand. source (though exact cognates are wanting) related to O.N. skalli
"bald head," skalpr
"sheath," from the source of scale
(n.2). Fr. scalpe,
Ger., Swed. skalp
are from English. The verb meaning "to cut off (someone's) scalp" is recorded from 1676, originally in ref. to N.Amer. Indians.