What does scale mean?

Definitions for scale

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word scale.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. scale, scale of measurement, graduated table, ordered series(noun)

    an ordered reference standard

    "judging on a scale of 1 to 10"

  2. scale(noun)

    relative magnitude

    "they entertained on a grand scale"

  3. scale(noun)

    the ratio between the size of something and a representation of it

    "the scale of the map"; "the scale of the model"

  4. scale, scale leaf(noun)

    a specialized leaf or bract that protects a bud or catkin

  5. scale, scurf, exfoliation(noun)

    a thin flake of dead epidermis shed from the surface of the skin

  6. scale, musical scale(noun)

    (music) a series of notes differing in pitch according to a specific scheme (usually within an octave)

  7. scale, weighing machine(noun)

    a measuring instrument for weighing; shows amount of mass

  8. scale(noun)

    an indicator having a graduated sequence of marks

  9. plate, scale, shell(noun)

    a metal sheathing of uniform thickness (such as the shield attached to an artillery piece to protect the gunners)

  10. scale(verb)

    a flattened rigid plate forming part of the body covering of many animals

  11. scale(verb)

    measure by or as if by a scale

    "This bike scales only 25 pounds"

  12. scale(verb)

    pattern, make, regulate, set, measure, or estimate according to some rate or standard

  13. scale(verb)

    take by attacking with scaling ladders

    "The troops scaled the walls of the fort"

  14. scale, surmount(verb)

    reach the highest point of

    "We scaled the Mont Blanc"

  15. scale(verb)

    climb up by means of a ladder

  16. scale, descale(verb)

    remove the scales from

    "scale fish"

  17. scale(verb)

    measure with or as if with scales

    "scale the gold"

  18. scale(verb)

    size or measure according to a scale

    "This model must be scaled down"

Webster Dictionary

  1. Scale(noun)

    the dish of a balance; hence, the balance itself; an instrument or machine for weighing; as, to turn the scale; -- chiefly used in the plural when applied to the whole instrument or apparatus for weighing. Also used figuratively

  2. Scale(noun)

    the sign or constellation Libra

  3. Scale(verb)

    to weigh or measure according to a scale; to measure; also, to grade or vary according to a scale or system

  4. Scale(noun)

    one of the small, thin, membranous, bony or horny pieces which form the covering of many fishes and reptiles, and some mammals, belonging to the dermal part of the skeleton, or dermoskeleton. See Cycloid, Ctenoid, and Ganoid

  5. Scale(noun)

    hence, any layer or leaf of metal or other material, resembling in size and thinness the scale of a fish; as, a scale of iron, of bone, etc

  6. Scale(noun)

    one of the small scalelike structures covering parts of some invertebrates, as those on the wings of Lepidoptera and on the body of Thysanura; the elytra of certain annelids. See Lepidoptera

  7. Scale(noun)

    a scale insect. (See below.)

  8. Scale(noun)

    a small appendage like a rudimentary leaf, resembling the scales of a fish in form, and often in arrangement; as, the scale of a bud, of a pine cone, and the like. The name is also given to the chaff on the stems of ferns

  9. Scale(noun)

    the thin metallic side plate of the handle of a pocketknife. See Illust. of Pocketknife

  10. Scale(noun)

    an incrustation deposit on the inside of a vessel in which water is heated, as a steam boiler

  11. Scale(noun)

    the thin oxide which forms on the surface of iron forgings. It consists essentially of the magnetic oxide, Fe3O4. Also, a similar coating upon other metals

  12. Scale(verb)

    to strip or clear of scale or scales; as, to scale a fish; to scale the inside of a boiler

  13. Scale(verb)

    to take off in thin layers or scales, as tartar from the teeth; to pare off, as a surface

  14. Scale(verb)

    to scatter; to spread

  15. Scale(verb)

    to clean, as the inside of a cannon, by the explosion of a small quantity of powder

  16. Scale(verb)

    to separate and come off in thin layers or laminae; as, some sandstone scales by exposure

  17. Scale(verb)

    to separate; to scatter

  18. Scale(noun)

    a ladder; a series of steps; a means of ascending

  19. Scale(noun)

    hence, anything graduated, especially when employed as a measure or rule, or marked by lines at regular intervals

  20. Scale(noun)

    a mathematical instrument, consisting of a slip of wood, ivory, or metal, with one or more sets of spaces graduated and numbered on its surface, for measuring or laying off distances, etc., as in drawing, plotting, and the like. See Gunter's scale

  21. Scale(noun)

    a series of spaces marked by lines, and representing proportionately larger distances; as, a scale of miles, yards, feet, etc., for a map or plan

  22. Scale(noun)

    a basis for a numeral system; as, the decimal scale; the binary scale, etc

  23. Scale(noun)

    the graduated series of all the tones, ascending or descending, from the keynote to its octave; -- called also the gamut. It may be repeated through any number of octaves. See Chromatic scale, Diatonic scale, Major scale, and Minor scale, under Chromatic, Diatonic, Major, and Minor

  24. Scale(noun)

    gradation; succession of ascending and descending steps and degrees; progressive series; scheme of comparative rank or order; as, a scale of being

  25. Scale(noun)

    relative dimensions, without difference in proportion of parts; size or degree of the parts or components in any complex thing, compared with other like things; especially, the relative proportion of the linear dimensions of the parts of a drawing, map, model, etc., to the dimensions of the corresponding parts of the object that is represented; as, a map on a scale of an inch to a mile

  26. Scale(verb)

    to climb by a ladder, or as if by a ladder; to ascend by steps or by climbing; to clamber up; as, to scale the wall of a fort

  27. Scale(verb)

    to lead up by steps; to ascend

  28. Origin: [L. scalae, pl., scala staircase, ladder; akin to scandere to climb. See Scan; cf. Escalade.]


  1. Scale

    In most biological nomenclature, a scale is a small rigid plate that grows out of an animal's skin to provide protection. In lepidopteran species, scales are plates on the surface of the insect wing, and provide coloration. Scales are quite common and have evolved multiple times with varying structure and function. Scales are generally classified as part of an organism's integumentary system. There are various types of scales according to shape and to class of animal.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Scale

    skāl, n. a ladder: series of steps: a graduated measure: (mus.) a series of all the tones ascending or descending from the keynote to its octave, called the gamut: the order of a numeral system: gradation: proportion: series.—v.t. to mount, as by a ladder: to ascend: to draw in true proportion: to measure logs: to decrease proportionally, as every part.—v.i. to lead up by steps: (Scot.) to disperse, to spill, to spread as manure.—ns. Scale′-board (print.), a thin slip of wood for extending a page to its true length, making types register, securing uniformity of margin, &c.; Scale′-pipette′, a tubular pipette with a graduated scale for taking up definite quantities of liquid; Scal′ing-ladd′er, a ladder used for the escalade of an enemy's fortress: a fireman's ladder: (her.) a bearing representing a ladder, with two hooks and two ferrules. [L. scala, a ladder—scandĕre, to mount.]

  2. Scale

    skāl, n. one of the small, thin plates on a fish or reptile: a thin layer: a husk: the covering of the leaf-buds of deciduous trees: a piece of cuticle that is squamous or horny: a flake: an encrustation on the side of a vessel in which water is heated.—v.t. to clear of scales: to peel off in thin layers.—v.i. to come off in thin layers.—ns. Scale′-arm′our, armour consisting of scales of metal overlapping each other: plate-mail; Scale′-back, a marine worm covered with scales.—adjs. Scale′-bear′ing, having scales, as the sea-mice; Scaled, having scales: covered with scales.—ns. Scale′-dove, an American dove having the plumage marked as with scales; Scale′-fish, a dry cured fish, as the haddock; Scale′-foot, the scabbard-fish; Scale′-in′sect, any insect of the homopterous family Coccidæ.—adj. Scale′less, without scales, as the scaleless amphibians.—n. Scale′-moss, certain plants which resemble moss.—adj. Scale′-patt′ern, having a pattern resembling scales.—ns. Scale′-quail, an American quail having scale-like markings of the plumage; Scā′ler, one who makes a business of scaling fish: an instrument used by dentists in removing tartar.—adjs. Scale′-tailed, having scales on the under side of the tail; Scale′-winged, having the wings covered with minute scales, as a butterfly.—ns. Scale′-work, scales lapping over each other; Scale′-worm, a scale-back: Scal′iness, the state of being scaly: roughness; Scal′ing, the process of removing scales from a fish, or encrustations from the interior of a boiler; Scal′ing-fur′nace, a furnace in which plates of iron are heated for the purpose of scaling them, as in tinning.—adj. Scal′y, covered with scales: like scales: shabby: (bot.) formed of scales. [A.S. sceale, scale, the scale of a fish; Ger. schale, shell.]

  3. Scale

    skāl, n. the dish of a balance: a balance, as to turn the scale—chiefly in pl.: (pl.) Libra, one of the signs of the zodiac.—v.t. to weigh, as in scales: to estimate.—ns. Scale′-beam, the beam or lever of a balance; Scale′-microm′eter, in a telescope, a graduated scale for measuring distances; Scāl′ing, the process of adjusting sights to a ship's guns.—Beam and scales, a balance; Gunter's scale, a scale for solving mechanically problems in navigation and surveying. [A.S. scále, a balance; Dut. schaal, Ger. schale; allied to preceding word.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. scale

    The ratio or fraction between the distance on a map, chart, or photograph and the corresponding distance on the surface of the Earth. See also conversion scale; graphic scale; photographic scale; principal scale.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. scale

    An old word for commercial emporium, derived from scala. Also, the graduated divisions by which the proportions of a chart or plan are regulated. Also, the common measures of the sheer-draught, &c. (See GUNTER'S LINE.)

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. scale

    To climb by a ladder, or as if by a ladder; to clamber up; as, to scale the ramparts.

Editors Contribution

  1. scale

    a string of musicial notes

    a scale on a paino goes low to high volume

    Submitted by anonymous on May 14, 2019  
  2. scale

    A type of skin covering or plate that is attached to the body of an animal or vertebrate with a specific feel, function and structure.

    Fish, frogs, birds, insects and reptiles all have scales which are different in feel, function and structure.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 27, 2016  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'scale' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1425

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'scale' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1367

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'scale' in Nouns Frequency: #526

How to pronounce scale?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say scale in sign language?

  1. scale


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of scale in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of scale in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of scale in a Sentence

  1. William Rosenzweig:

    Scale matters in food.

  2. Royal Dutch Shell:

    It's not small-scale maintenance.

  3. Arati Prabhakar:

    Pace today matters on every scale.

  4. Michael W. Moore:

    Paranoia is a finer scale of reality.

  5. Andrew Johnson:

    That's the secret sauce to go to scale.

Images & Illustrations of scale

  1. scalescalescalescalescale

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for scale

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • ميزانArabic
  • skeulBreton
  • stupnice, měřítko, šupina, váha, okujCzech
  • Skala, Tonleiter, Ausmaß, Maßstab, Schuppe, Waage, skalieren, entschuppen, besteigen, schuppen, Waagschale, Schuppenpanzer, erklimmenGerman
  • μέγεθος, έκταση, κλίμακα, λέπι, ζυγαριάGreek
  • pesiloEsperanto
  • escala, gama, escama, balanza, platillo, escalar, escamarSpanish
  • mõõtmestamaEstonian
  • فلس, ترازو, برگستوان, میزانPersian
  • mittakaava, skaala, asteikko, luokka, sävelasteikko, hilseillä, suomu, varsivaaka, hilse, pajahilse, suomupanssari, kiivetä, [[poistaa]] [[hilse]], skaalautua, höylätä, vaaka, vaakakuppi, skaalata, suomustaa, [[muuttaa]] [[mittakaavaa]], kivuta, kuoriaFinnish
  • échelle, gamme, balance, écaille, plateau, barbure, réduire, escalader, squame, agrandir, écaillerFrench
  • sgèile, meudachdScottish Gaelic
  • તુલાGujarati
  • סולם, קנה מידה, קשקשHebrew
  • तराज़ू, तुलाHindi
  • hangsor, beosztás, mérleg, skálaHungarian
  • նժար, թեփ, կշեռք, թեփուկArmenian
  • balancoIdo
  • scala, scaglia, bilancia, squamaItalian
  • スケール, 目盛り, 大きさ, 縮尺比, 強度, 規模, 等級, 音階, 鱗, はかり, 鱗片, 秤, 天秤, 見合う, 鱗を除く, ガサガサにする, 肌荒れを起こす, 登る, 鱗を落とすJapanese
  • 정도, 비늘Korean
  • terazîKurdish
  • scala, lībraLatin
  • skalė, mastas, mastelis, žvynai, svarstyklėsLithuanian
  • zvīņasLatvian
  • hātepe, āwhata, unahiMāori
  • skala, skjellNorwegian
  • schaal, toonladder, schub, weegschaalDutch
  • skala, skjellNorwegian Nynorsk
  • vektNorwegian
  • skala, łuska, wagaPolish
  • escala, tamanho, escale, escama, balança, subir, descamar, prato, escalar, escamarPortuguese
  • solz, cântarRomanian
  • шкала, масштаб, гамма, чешуя, весы, чешуйка, чаша весовRussian
  • ljestvica, mjerilo, stupnice, krljušt, вага, vaga, terazije, тас, tas, ljȕska, теразије, кантар, kantarSerbo-Croatian
  • škála, stupnica, lupinaSlovak
  • skala, velikost, lestvica, merilo, luska, vaga, tehtnicaSlovene
  • måttstock, skala, vågskål, fjälla, fjäll, balansvåg, fjällpansar, våg, bestigaSwedish
  • mzaniSwahili
  • స్థాయి, పరిమాణము, ప్రమాణము, స్కేలు, కొలత, కాటా, త్రాసుTelugu
  • kaliskisTagalog
  • kantar, ölçeklemek, tırmanmak, terazi, ölçeklendirmekTurkish
  • ترازو, تلا, میزان, پیمانےUrdu
  • tegülVolapük

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