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.
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.
- scaleless, adjective
- scalelike, adjective
Other definitions for scale (2 of 3)
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.
to weigh in or as if in scales.
to have a weight of.
Other definitions for scale (3 of 3)
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 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use scale in a sentence
Today, something similar is underway, albeit on a smaller scale.
In response to an unprecedented threat, emergency mobilization on a wartime scale seemed necessary.Why female leaders are faring better than ‘wartime presidents’ against COVID-19 | matthewheimer | August 20, 2020 | Fortune
Now that we feel confident about the unit economics, we can start to turn on the scale thing.Inside Tony Haile’s expedition to (help) save the news business | Steven Perlberg | July 27, 2020 | Digiday
However, he added that he does not think that massive scale events, like the one that The Atlantic’s aiming to put on, will be able to achieve the required networking and interaction.How The Atlantic is moving its biggest festival online | Kayleigh Barber | July 16, 2020 | Digiday
Liu said this allowed the media property to have “far exceeded” the scale it had set out to meet.South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu on navigating a perilous time for Hong Kong | Pierre Bienaimé | July 14, 2020 | Digiday
The most recent activity had a high point of 3.6 on the Richter scale.26 Earthquakes Later, Fracking’s Smoking Gun Is in Texas | James Joiner | January 7, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
So did Alexander Hamilton, and on a grander scale than your AmEx.
Only two senators opposed the resolution, which the administration later claimed was the authority for a full-scale war.
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 | Bel Trew | December 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Some of the streets in this part of the town have seen large scale-destruction.
On a small scale map, in an office, you may make mole-hills of mountains; on the ground there's no escaping from its features.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
Free discussion—never a very free thing in Russia—has now on any general scale become quite impossible.The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
But consider what it will be when the system is adopted on a more comprehensive scale.
If only India were pulling her weight for us on the same scale, we should by now be before the gates of Vienna.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
Aber Jeder will grossartig spielen heutzutage (But everybody wants to play on a grand scale now-a-days).Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
British Dictionary definitions for scale (1 of 3)
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 lepidoptera: Related 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)
- scalelike, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for scale (2 of 3)
(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
British Dictionary definitions for scale (3 of 3)
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 it: the 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, etc: a wage scale for carpenters
an established measure or standard
a relative degree or extent: he 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 system: the 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)
- See also scale back
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 scale (1 of 2)
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.
Scientific definitions for scale (2 of 2)
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for scale (1 of 2)
A system of marks set at fixed intervals, used as a standard for measurement.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with scale
In addition to the idiom beginning with scale
- scale down
- tip the balance (scale)
- turn the tables (scales)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.