[ skey-ler ]
/ ˈskeɪ lər /
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representable by position on a scale or line; having only magnitude: a scalar variable.
of, relating to, or utilizing a scalar.
ladderlike in arrangement or organization; graduated: a scalar structure for promoting personnel.


Mathematics, Physics. a quantity possessing only magnitude.Compare vector (def. 1a).



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of scalar

First recorded in 1650–60, scalar is from the Latin word scālāris of a ladder. See scale3, -ar1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for scalar

/ (ˈskeɪlə) /


a quantity, such as time or temperature, that has magnitude but not directionCompare vector (def. 1), tensor (def. 2), pseudoscalar, pseudovector
maths an element of a field associated with a vector space


having magnitude but not direction

Word Origin for scalar

C17 (meaning: resembling a ladder): from Latin scālāris, from scāla ladder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for scalar

[ skālər ]

A quantity, such as mass, length, or speed, whose only property is magnitude; a number. Compare vector.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.