- one of the thin, flat, horny plates forming the covering of certain animals, as snakes, lizards, and pangolins.
- one of the hard, bony or dentinal plates, either flat or denticulate, forming the covering of certain other animals, as fishes.
- any thin, platelike piece, lamina, or flake that peels off from a surface, as from the skin.
- Also called bud scale.a rudimentary body, usually a specialized leaf and often covered with hair, wax, or resin, enclosing an immature leaf bud.
- a thin, scarious or membranous part of a plant, as a bract of a catkin.
- scale insect.
- a coating or incrustation, as on the inside of a boiler, formed by the precipitation of salts from the water.
- Often scales. Metallurgy.
- an oxide, especially an iron oxide, occurring in a scaly form on the surface of metal brought to a high temperature.
- Also called mill scale.such scale formed on iron or steel during hot-rolling.
- a cause of blindness or ignorance, as regarding the true nature of a person, situation, etc.: You're infatuated with her now, but the scales will soon fall from your eyes.
- Bible.an unspecified affliction that caused Paul to become temporarily blind. Acts 9:18.
- to remove the scales or scale from: to scale a fish.
- to remove in scales or thin layers.
- to cover with an incrustation or scale.
- to skip, as a stone over water.
- Dentistry. to remove (calculus) from the teeth with instruments.
- to come off in scales.
- to shed scales.
- to become coated with scale, as the inside of a boiler.
Origin of scale1
- Often scales. a balance or any of various other instruments or devices for weighing: We gave the parents a baby scale. The butcher placed the meat on the scales.
- Also called scalepan. either of the pans or dishes of a balance.
- Scales, Astronomy, Astrology. the constellation or sign of Libra; Balance.
- to weigh in or as if in scales.
- to have a weight of.
- tip the scale/scales,
- to weigh: He tips the scales at 190 lbs.
- to turn the trend of favor, control, etc.: The present crisis should tip the scales for our candidate.
- turn the scale/scales, to decide in favor of one side or faction; determine the outcome: It would take a miracle to turn the scales for us now.
Origin of scale2
- a succession or progression of steps or degrees; graduated series: the scale of taxation; the social scale.
- a series of marks laid down at determinate distances, as along a line, for purposes of measurement or computation: the scale of a thermometer.
- a graduated line, as on a map, representing proportionate size.
- a table of graduated rates, as of prices or wages: These unions use different scales.
- a wage that conforms to such rates: How much is scale?
- Also called union scale. a wage fixed by contract that is the minimum permitted to be paid to or accepted by a particular category of employed persons: All actors and musicians for the performance, including the stars, are working for scale.
- an instrument with graduated spaces, as for measuring.
- the proportion that a representation of an object bears to the object itself: a model on a scale of one inch to one foot.
- the ratio of distances or sometimes of areas on a map to the corresponding values on the earth.
- a certain relative or proportionate size or extent: They built a residence on a yet more magnificent scale.
- a standard of measurement or estimation; point of reference by which to gauge or rate: We have no scale by which to judge his achievements.
- Music. a succession of tones ascending or descending according to fixed intervals, especially such a series beginning on a particular note: the major scale of C.
- Education, Psychology. a graded series of tests or tasks for measuring intelligence, achievement, adjustment, etc.
- Arithmetic. a system of numerical notation: the decimal scale.
- anything by which one may ascend.
- a ladder.
- a flight of stairs.
- to climb by or as if by a ladder; climb up or over.
- to make according to scale.
- to adjust in amount according to a fixed scale or proportion (often followed by down or up): to scale down wages.
- to measure by or as if by a scale.
- to measure (logs).
- to estimate the amount of (standing timber).
- Australian Informal. to ride on (public transportation) without paying the fare.
- to climb; ascend; mount.
- to progress in a graduated series.
Origin of scale3
SynonymsSee more synonyms for scale on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for scale
The last time there was a raid of this scale was in 2001, when 52 men were arrested on Queen Boat, a floating disco on the Nile.Sisi Is Persecuting, Prosecuting, and Publicly Shaming Egypt’s Gays
December 30, 2014
So with the doors of late night closed to her, Slate had to scale down her ambitions to raise her profile.The Curious Little Shell That Restarted Jenny Slate’s Career
December 15, 2014
The more criteria a person meets on the scale, the more severe the problem.Americans Drink Too Much, But We’re Not All Alcoholics
November 25, 2014
The violence continues, but on a scale diminished since when American bases and outposts dotted the province.Heart of Darkness: Into Afghanistan’s Taliban Valley
Matt Trevithick, Daniel Seckman
November 15, 2014
A few years later, Vieira found the evidence he was looking for to scale up his search.Hunting for a Real-Life Hagrid
November 13, 2014
To prepare it in this way, secure a perch and scale and clean it.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 3
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
That mountain wall, impracticable as it seems, we have to scale.The Roof of France
Throughout he must remember, how small is the scale of operations.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
Weighed in this scale, what a profanation is this man guilty of!Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
It was not fitted out upon the scale which Nelson had proposed.The Life of Horatio Lord Nelson
- any of the numerous plates, made of various substances resembling enamel or dentine, covering the bodies of fishes
- any of the horny or chitinous plates covering a part or the entire body of certain reptiles and mammals
- any of the numerous minute structures covering the wings of lepidopteraRelated adjective: squamous
- a thin flat piece or flake
- a thin flake of dead epidermis shed from the skin: excessive shedding may be the result of a skin disease
- a specialized leaf or bract, esp the protective covering of a bud or the dry membranous bract of a catkin
- See scale insect
- a flaky black oxide of iron formed on the surface of iron or steel at high temperatures
- any oxide formed on a metal during heat treatment
- another word for limescale
- (tr) to remove the scales or coating from
- to peel off or cause to peel off in flakes or scales
- (intr) to shed scales
- to cover or become covered with scales, incrustation, etc
- (tr) to throw (a disc or thin flat object) edgewise through the air or along the surface of water
- (intr) Australian informal to ride on public transport without paying a fare
- (tr) Southern African slang to steal (something)
- (often plural) a machine or device for weighing
- one of the pans of a balance
- tip the scales
- to exercise a decisive influence
- (foll by at)to amount in weight (to)
- to weigh with or as if with scales
- to have a weight of
- a sequence of marks either at regular intervals or else representing equal steps, used as a reference in making measurements
- a measuring instrument having such a scale
- the ratio between the size of something real and that of a model or representation of itthe scale of the map was so large that we could find our house on it
- (as modifier)a scale model
- a line, numerical ratio, etc, for showing this ratio
- a progressive or graduated table of things, wages, etc, in order of size, value, etca wage scale for carpenters
- an established measure or standard
- a relative degree or extenthe entertained on a grand scale
- music a group of notes taken in ascending or descending order, esp within the compass of one octave
- maths the notation of a given number systemthe decimal scale
- a graded series of tests measuring mental development, etc
- obsolete a ladder or staircase
- to climb to the top of (a height) by or as if by a ladder
- (tr) to make or draw (a model, plan, etc) according to a particular ratio of proportionate reduction
- (tr; usually foll by up or down) to increase or reduce proportionately in size, etc
- US and Canadian (in forestry) to estimate the board footage of (standing timber or logs)
Word Origin and History for scale
"skin plates on fish or snakes," c.1300, from Old French escale "cup, scale, shell pod, husk" (12c., Modern French écale) "scale, husk," from Frankish *skala or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *skælo "split, divide" (cf. Dutch schaal "a scale, husk," Old High German scala "shell," Gothic skalja "tile," Old English scealu "shell, husk"), from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut, cleave, split" (cf. 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").
In reference to humans, as a condition of certain skin diseases, it is attested from c.1400. As what falls from one's eye when blindness ends (usually figurative), it echoes Acts ix:18 (Latin tanquam squamæ, Greek hosei lepides).
weighing instrument, early 15c.; earlier "pan of a balance" (late 14c.); earlier still "drinking cup" (c.1200), from Old Norse skal "bowl, drinking cup," in plural, "weighing scale" from a noun derivative of Proto-Germanic *skæla "split, divide" (cf. 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" (see scale (n.1)).
The connecting sense seems to be of half of a bivalve ("split") shell used as a drinking cup or a pan for weighing. But according to Paulus Diaconus the "drinking cup" sense originated from a supposed custom of making goblets from skulls (see skull). Related: Scales. This, as a name for the zodiac constellation Libra, is attested in English from 1630s.
"to climb by or as by a ladder," late 14c., from scale (n.) "a ladder," from Latin scala "ladder, flight of stairs," from *scansla, from stem of scandere "to climb" (see scan (v.)). Related: Scaled; scaling.
"remove the scales of (a fish, etc.)," c.1400, from scale (n.1). Intransitive sense "to come off in scales" is from 1520s. Related: Scaled; scaling.
"weigh in scales," 1690s, from scale (n.2). Earlier "to compare, estimate" (c.1600). Meaning "measure or regulate by a scale" is from 1798, from scale (n.3); that of "weigh out in proper quantities" is from 1841. Scale down "reduce proportionately" is attested from 1887. Scale factor is from 1948. Related: Scaled; scaling.
"series of registering marks to measure by; marks laid down to determine distance along a line," late 14c., from Latin scala "ladder, staircase" (see scale (v.1)). Meaning "succession or series of steps" is from c.1600; that of "standard for estimation" (large scale, small scale, etc.) is from 1620s. Musical sense (1590s), and the meaning "proportion of a representation to the actual object" (1660s) are via Italian scala, from Latin scala.
- One of the small thin plates forming the outer covering of fish, reptiles, and certain other animals.
- A similar part, such as one of the minute structures overlapping to form the covering on the wings of butterflies and moths.
- A small, thin, usually dry plant part, such as one of the protective leaves that cover a tree bud or one of the structures that contain the reproductive organs on the cones of a conifer.
- A plant disease caused by scale insects.
- An ordered system of numbering or indexing that is used as a reference standard in measurement, in which each number corresponds to some physical quantity. Some scales, such as temperature scales, have equal intervals; other scales, such as the Richter scale, are arranged as a geometric progression.
- An instrument or a machine for weighing.
A system of marks set at fixed intervals, used as a standard for measurement.
Idioms and Phrases with scale
In addition to the idiom beginning with scale
- scale down
- tip the balance (scale)
- turn the tables (scales)