- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
verb (used with object), scaled, scal·ing.
verb (used without object), scaled, scal·ing.
- scale 3,
- scale back,
- scale down,
- scale insect,
- scale leaf
Origin of scale1
Examples from the Web for scalelike
Like many others of the scale bugs, the cochineal males have wings and are not so scalelike as their helpless mates.The Insect Folk|Margaret Warner Morley
Crystallizes in scalelike monoclinic forms, but usually forms compact claylike masses.Geology|William J. Miller
The plants always have scalelike leaves which soon fall off.The Fantastic Clan|John James Thornber
They describe the colour, shape, and size of the buds, and also their gummy and scalelike covering.Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study|Ontario Ministry of Education
- 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
Word Origin for scale
- to exercise a decisive influence
- (foll by at) to amount in weight (to)
Word Origin for 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
Word Origin 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.
A system of marks set at fixed intervals, used as a standard for measurement.
In addition to the idiom beginning with scale
- scale down
- tip the balance (scale)
- turn the tables (scales)