What does scale mean?

Definitions for scale

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word scale.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. scale, scale of measurement, graduated table, ordered seriesnoun

    an ordered reference standard

    "judging on a scale of 1 to 10"

  2. scalenoun

    relative magnitude

    "they entertained on a grand scale"

  3. scalenoun

    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 leafnoun

    a specialized leaf or bract that protects a bud or catkin

  5. scale, scurf, exfoliationnoun

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

  6. scale, musical scalenoun

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

  7. scale, weighing machinenoun

    a measuring instrument for weighing; shows amount of mass

  8. scalenoun

    an indicator having a graduated sequence of marks

  9. plate, scale, shellnoun

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

  10. scaleverb

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

  11. scaleverb

    measure by or as if by a scale

    "This bike scales only 25 pounds"

  12. scaleverb

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

  13. scaleverb

    take by attacking with scaling ladders

    "The troops scaled the walls of the fort"

  14. scale, surmountverb

    reach the highest point of

    "We scaled the Mont Blanc"

  15. scaleverb

    climb up by means of a ladder

  16. scale, descaleverb

    remove the scales from

    "scale fish"

  17. scaleverb

    measure with or as if with scales

    "scale the gold"

  18. scaleverb

    size or measure according to a scale

    "This model must be scaled down"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SCALEnoun

    Etymology: scale , Saxon; schael, Dutch; skal, Islandick.

    If thou tak’st more
    Or less than just a pound, if the scale turn
    But in the estimation of a hair,
    Thou diest. William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.

    Your vows to her and me, put in two scales,
    Will even weigh, and both as light as tales. William Shakespeare.

    Here’s an equivocator, that could swear, in both the scales, against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Long time in even scale
    The battle hung. John Milton, Parad. Lost, b. vi.

    The world’s scales are even; what the main
    In one place gets, another quits again. John Cleveland.

    The scales are turn’d, her kindness weighs no more
    Now than my vows. Edmund Waller.

    In full assemblies let the crowd prevail;
    I weigh no more merit by the common scale,
    The conscience is the test. Dryden.

    If we consider the dignity of an intelligent being, and put that in the scales against brute inanimate matter, we may affirm, without overvaluing human nature, that the soul of one virtuous and religious man is of greater worth and excellency than the sun and his planets. Richard Bentley, Sermons.

    Juno pours out the urn, and Vulcan claims
    The scales, as the just product of his flames. Thomas Creech.

    He puts him on a coat of mail,
    Which was made of a fish’s scale. Michael Drayton.

    Standing aloof, with lead they bruise the scales,
    And tear the flesh of the incensed whales. Edmund Waller.

    Take jet and the scales of iron, and with a wet feather, when the smith hath taken an heat, take up the scales that fly from the iron, and those scales you shall grind upon your painter’s stone. Henry Peacham.

    When a scale of bone is taken out of a wound, burning retards the separation. Samuel Sharp, Surgery.

    Love refines
    The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat
    In reason, and is judicious; is the scale
    By which to heav’nly love thou may’st ascend. John Milton.

    On the bendings of these mountains the marks of several ancient scales of stairs may be seen, by which they used to ascend them. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    Others to a city strong
    Lay siege, encamp’d; by batt’ry, scale, and mine
    Assaulting. John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    Well hast thou the scale of nature set,
    From centre to circumference; whereon
    In contemplation of created things,
    By steps we may ascend to God. John Milton, Par. Lost.

    The scale of the creatures is a matter of high speculation. Nehemiah Grew.

    The higher nature still advances, and preserves his superiority in the scale of being. Addison.

    All the integral parts of nature have a beautiful analogy to one another, and to their mighty original, whose images are more or less expressive, according to their several gradations in the scale of beings. George Cheyne, Phil. Princ.

    We believe an invisible world, and a scale of spiritual beings all nobler than ourselves. Richard Bentley, Sermons.

    Far as creation’s ample range extends,
    The scale of sensual mental pow’rs ascends. Alexander Pope.

    In contemplation’s scale I’ll soar,
    And be enraptur’d more and more;
    Whilst thus new matter of surprise
    In each gradation shall arise. Alexander Macbean.

    The map of London was set out in the year 1658 by Mr. Newcourt, drawn by a scale of yards. John Graunt.

    The bent of his thoughts and reasonings run up and down this scale, that no people can be happy but under good governments. William Temple.

    They take the flow o’ th’ Nile
    By certain scale i’ th’ pyramid: they know
    By th’ height, the lowness, or the mean, if dearth
    Or foizon follow. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

  2. To Scaleverb

    Etymology: scalare, Italian.

    Often have I scal’d the craggy oak,
    All to dislodge the raven of her nest:
    How have I wearied, with many a stroke,
    The stately walnut-tree, the while the rest
    Under the tree fell all for nuts at strife! Edmund Spenser.

    Upon the ceasing of the great artillery they assailed the breach, and others with their scaling ladders scaled the walls. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    The way seems difficult, and steep, to scale
    With upright wing against a higher foe. John Milton.

    Heav’n with these engines had been scal’d,
    When mountains heap’d on mountains fail’d. Edmund Waller.

    When the bold Typhæus scal’d the sky,
    And forc’d great Jove from his own heav’n to fly,
    The lesser gods all suffer’d. Dryden.

    You have found,
    Scaling his present bearing with his past,
    That he’s your fixed enemy. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Raphael was sent to scale away the whiteness of Tobit’s eyes. Tob. iii. 17.

    If all the mountains were scaled, and the earth made even, the waters would not overflow its smooth surface. Burnet.

  3. To Scaleverb

    To peel off in thin particles.

    Those that cast their shell are the lobster and crab: the old skins are found, but the old shells never; so as it is like they scale off, and crumble away by degrees. Francis Bacon.


  1. scale

    The Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) is an annual Linux, open source and free software conference held in Los Angeles, California, since 2002. Despite having Linux in its name, SCALE covers all open source operating systems and software. It is a volunteer-run event. The event features an expo floor with both commercial and non-profit exhibitors, as well as 4 days of seminars on the topic of Linux and Open Source software. Sessions and presentations cover a broad spectrum of topics and technical levels. SCALE grew out of a series of LUGFests put on by the Simi Conejo Linux Users Group in the late 90s. There were four of them, held every 6 months at the Nortel development facility in Simi Valley, California. They ended when Nortel closed that facility in 2001. Subsequently, members from SCLUG, USCLUG and UCLALUG organized to create a more regional event, which they named the Southern California Linux Expo. Companies, organizations and projects represented at SCALE include Linux-based projects such as Debian, Gentoo Linux, the Fedora Project, KDE and GNOME, other open-source operating systems including NetBSD and FreeBSD, software projects such as Django, open-source database systems such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, other open-source applications such as Drupal, Inkscape, MythTV and The Document Foundation, activist organizations such as Software Freedom Law Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, major technology companies such as IBM, HP and Sharp, web companies including Google, Facebook and eHarmony, and internet projects including OpenStreetMap.


  1. scale

    Scale refers to the relative size, extent, or measure of something in relation to a certain standard or system. It can refer to a series of marked or unmarked intervals used for measurement or comparison; a measuring instrument; a relative level or degree; or a sequence of notes used in music. The term can be used in various fields such as cartography, architecture, physics, music and more, each with a specific context-based meaning.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

    the sign or constellation Libra

  3. Scaleverb

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

  4. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

    a scale insect. (See below.)

  8. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

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

  10. Scalenoun

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

  11. Scalenoun

    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. Scaleverb

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

  13. Scaleverb

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

  14. Scaleverb

    to scatter; to spread

  15. Scaleverb

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

  16. Scaleverb

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

  17. Scaleverb

    to separate; to scatter

  18. Scalenoun

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

  19. Scalenoun

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

  20. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

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

  23. Scalenoun

    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. Scalenoun

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

  25. Scalenoun

    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. Scaleverb

    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. Scaleverb

    to lead up by steps; to ascend

  28. Etymology: [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 size or range.

    The scale of the business was amazing and such an amazing team.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 27, 2020  


  1. Scale

    a general term to distinguish Coccidae: specifically the puparium of a Diaspid, comprising exuviae and excreted matter: the waxy covering of a male Lecaniid: in Diptera = alula: q.v.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SCALE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Scale is ranked #119508 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Scale surname appeared 145 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Scale.

    51.7% or 75 total occurrences were Black.
    44.8% or 65 total occurrences were White.

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

Anagrams for scale »

  1. casel

  2. alces

How to pronounce scale?

How to say scale in sign language?


  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. Josh Billings:

    The man whose only pleasure in life is making money, weighs less on the moral scale than an angleworm.

  2. Simon Cvijanovic:

    They made him step on the scale three to five times a day, every time he walked by, coach would make him step up on the scale, and Peter would hang his head and get up on the scale. We were both throwing up in the morning from anxiety -- me from my knee and him because of the weight issue.

  3. Shark Tank Robert Herjavec:

    We look for people that can scale at certain tipping points, if you're going to continue to do what you're doing today, and to get to $100 million your cost stays the same but you get to $100 million and your cost continues, there's no scale there. I like to look for scale.

  4. Brandon Basso:

    The future of farming certainly involves technologies like drones, [They] really gain us an additional perspective from the air on what's going on both on a micro-scale and a macro-scale.

  5. David Fleming:

    Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions; they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework.

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

Get even more translations for scale »


Find a translation for the scale definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"scale." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 11 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/scale>.

Discuss these scale definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for scale? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles
    • A. macron
    • B. flunkey
    • C. scalawag
    • D. arbalist

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for scale: