type of edible bivalve mollusk, mid-14c., scalop, from Old French escalope "shell (of a nut), carpace," a variant of eschalope, which probably is from a Germanic source (compare Old Norse skalpr "sheath," Middle Dutch schelpe "shell"), from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut."
Extended 17c. to objects shaped or ornaments cut like scallop shells, especially in design and dress. The shells of the larger species, often colorfully marked, have been used as domestic utensils. It also was a symbol of St. James the Great, and the shells were worn or carried as by pilgrims who had been to his shrine in Compostella.
1737 in cookery, "to bake or brown with sauce in a scallop-shell-shaped pan," by 1737, from scallop (n.); originally of oysters and the notion might have been baking or serving them in a large scallop shell. Related: Scalloped "cooked in a scallop-pan;" also "with the edges marked or cut into convex rounded lobes;" scalloping.
"scallop shell," also "edge or border cut in the shape of scallops," late 15c., in plural, escalloppys, from Old French escalope, eschalope "shell (of a nut), carapace," from a Germanic source (see scallop). For initial e-, see e-. As a verb from c. 1600 in escalloped "having the border or edge cut out in scallops."
mid-14c. (c. 1200 as a surname), "crown or top of the head (including hair)," presumably from a Scandinavian source (though exact sense cognates are wanting) related to Old Norse skalli "a bald head," skalpr "sheath, scabbard," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut," which is also the base of shell, skull, and scallop.
French scalpe, German, Danish, Swedish skalp are from English. Meaning "head skin and hair cut or torn from the head as a victory trophy" is from c. 1600, in Holland's Pliny, 1670s in reference to some North American tribal customs; as proof of the killing of an animal by 1703. Figuratively, as a symbol of victory, by 1757.
[weighing instrument] early 15c., extended to the whole instrument from the earlier sense of "pan of a balance" (late 14c.); earlier still "drinking cup" (c. 1200), from Old Norse skal "bowl, drinking cup," in plural, "weighing scale."
This is from a noun derivative of Proto-Germanic *skæla "to split, divide" (source also of Old Norse skel "shell," Old English scealu, Old Saxon skala "a bowl (to drink from)," Old High German scala, German Schale "a bowl, dish, cup," Middle Dutch scale, Dutch schaal "drinking cup, bowl, shell, scale of a balance"), from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut."
The connecting sense seems to be of half of a bivalve ("split") shell used as a drinking cup or a pan for weighing; compare scallop, which is from the same root. But according to Paulus Diaconus the "drinking cup" sense originated from a supposed custom of making goblets from skulls (see skull). Scales as a name for the zodiac constellation Libra is attested in English from 1630s.
also *kel-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut."
It forms all or part of: coulter; cutlass; half; halve; scale (n.1) "skin plates on fish or snakes;" scale (n.2) "weighing instrument;" scalene; scallop; scalp; scalpel; school (n.2) "group of fish;" sculpture; shale; sheldrake; shelf; shell; shield; shoal (n.2) "large number;" skoal; skill.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin culter "knife," scalpere "to cut, scrape;" Old Church Slavonic skolika "mussel, shell," Russian skala "rind, bark," Lithuanian skelti "split," Old English scell "shell," scalu "drinking cup, bowl, scale of a balance."
type of edible European mollusk, early 14c., from Old French coquille (13c.) "scallop, scallop shell; mother of pearl; a kind of hat," altered (by influence of coque "shell") from Vulgar Latin *conchilia, from Latin conchylium "mussel, shellfish," from Greek konkhylion "little shellfish," from konkhē "mussel, conch." Phrase cockles of the heart "inmost recesses of one's spirit" (1660s) is perhaps from similar shape, or from Latin corculum, diminutive of cor "heart." Cockle-shell attested from early 15c.