scale

1
[ skeyl ]
/ skeɪl /

noun

verb (used with object), scaled, scal·ing.

verb (used without object), scaled, scal·ing.

Origin of scale

1
1250–1300; (noun) Middle English < Middle French escale < West Germanic *skāla; akin to scale2; (v.) late Middle English scalen to remove scales from, derivative of the noun

Related forms

scale·less, adjectivescale·like, adjective

Definition for scales (2 of 3)

scale

2
[ skeyl ]
/ skeɪl /

noun

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.

verb (used with object), scaled, scal·ing.

to weigh in or as if in scales.
to have a weight of.

Origin of scale

2
1175–1225; Middle English < Old Norse skālar (plural), cognate with Old English scealu scale (of a balance)

Definition for scales (3 of 3)

scale

3
[ skeyl ]
/ skeɪl /

noun

verb (used with object), scaled, scal·ing.

verb (used without object), scaled, scal·ing.

to climb; ascend; mount.
to progress in a graduated series.

Origin of scale

3
1350–1400; (noun) Middle English < Latin scālae ladder, stairs; (v.) Middle English < Old French escaler or Medieval Latin scālāre, both ≪ Latin scāla, scālae

SYNONYMS FOR scale

17 See climb.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scales

British Dictionary definitions for scales (1 of 4)

Scales

/ (skeɪlz) /

noun

the Scales the constellation Libra, the seventh sign of the zodiac

British Dictionary definitions for scales (2 of 4)

scale

1
/ (skeɪl) /

noun

verb

Derived Forms

scalelike, adjective

Word Origin for scale

C14: from Old French escale, of Germanic origin; compare Old English scealu shell

British Dictionary definitions for scales (3 of 4)

scale

2
/ (skeɪl) /

noun

(often plural) a machine or device for weighing
one of the pans of a balance
tip the scales
  1. to exercise a decisive influence
  2. (foll by at) to amount in weight (to)

verb (tr)

to weigh with or as if with scales
to have a weight of

Word Origin for scale

C13: from Old Norse skāl bowl, related to Old High German scāla cup, Old English scealu shell, scale 1

British Dictionary definitions for scales (4 of 4)

scale

3
/ (skeɪl) /

noun

verb

See also scale back

Word Origin for scale

C15: via Italian from Latin scāla ladder; related to Old French eschiele, Spanish escala
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

Science definitions for scales (1 of 2)

scale

1
[ skāl ]

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.

Science definitions for scales (2 of 2)

scale

2
[ skāl ]

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.

Culture definitions for scales (1 of 2)

scale


In music, the sequence of tones that a piece of music principally uses. A composition in the key of C-major uses the C-major scale, made up of the white keys on a piano.

Culture definitions for scales (2 of 2)

scale


A system of marks set at fixed intervals, used as a standard for measurement.

Note

On a map, plan, or chart, a scale indicates the proportion between the representation and what it represents, such as the legend “One inch equals twenty miles” on a map.

Note

Temperature scales divide up the range of temperatures into equal degrees.
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.

Idioms and Phrases with scales

scale


In addition to the idiom beginning with scale

  • scale down

also see:

  • 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.