Main definitions of scale in English

: scale1scale2scale3

scale1

noun

  • 1Each of the small, thin horny or bony plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles, typically overlapping one another.

    • ‘Even fish are transformed from a mass of scales, bones, eyes and heads into a neat, inoffensive and anonymous fillet.’
    • ‘Check the fish for any stray scales and loose bones.’
    • ‘It's skin - he saw - was covered in a thin sheen of some translucent substance that glimmered tiny fish scales or mildew when it moved.’
    • ‘It attaches to fish with its mouth, rasps through scales and skin with its tongue, and feeds on the body fluids of the host fish, often killing it.’
    • ‘This protective shaft is made up of tiny cells that overlap each other, much the way fish scales do.’
    • ‘Brackish spray flew over his face as fins and scales and gnashing teeth tore at the air.’
    • ‘My job was to crouch down under these machines with the sweating women working up there, the fish guts and scales raining down on me.’
    • ‘Egg masses consist of 25 to 50 whitish eggs laid overlapping each other like fish scales.’
    • ‘Use your hands to spread the potato slices out so that they overlap like unruly fish scales, but are not more than 1 or 2 layers thick.’
    • ‘The roof-tiles are overlapped like the scales of a snake about to shed its skin.’
    • ‘It was small in the palm of his hand, and was the spitting image of a fish, with miniature scales and fins.’
    • ‘Fish bones and scales and cat skulls have also been found.’
    • ‘I eat everything I can of the fish, scales, bones, blood, organs, and eyes.’
    • ‘No one is quite sure how these cells differentiate to form structures as diverse as the elastic outer layer of skin, the stiff scales of fish, or the softness of feathers.’
    • ‘One wall is taken up with an elaborately tooled wine display, and another is covered in an intricately curving leather design, like reptile scales.’
    • ‘The sheer amount of them created the illusion that the chamber walls were frilly like the skin of a reptile with disjointed scales.’
    • ‘The figures cover the beach, their variously colored hair, bikinis and accessories overlapping like hundreds of rainbow fish scales.’
    • ‘Even very small, fragile bones and fish scales are preserved in the deposits.’
    • ‘The ray-finned fishes would seem a little more familiar than the placoderms, having scales instead of armor plates, with a look of the moray eel to them.’
    • ‘The outside surface of the fiber consists of a series of serrated scales which overlap each other much like the scales of a fish.’
  • 2Something resembling a fish scale in appearance or function, in particular.

    • ‘His entire skin was covered with greenish scales, with red scales taking their place at his throat and across his chest and belly.’
    • ‘Her legs melded together, and tiny silver scales appeared on her lower half.’
    • ‘In other words, hair conditioners soak into the tiny little overlapping scales.’
    • ‘Armadillos are mostly of moderate size, up to about 60 cm in body length, and are covered with bony scales.’
    • ‘A draconic man rather tall and with green scales and amber eyes appeared over the gate staring at her.’
    • ‘She wore a bustier clad with seashells, and her lower body was covered with fish like scales.’
    1. 2.1A thick dry flake of skin.
      • ‘Using a scalpel blade, the scales are scraped at the active border of the lesion, with particular care not to cause pain or bleeding.’
      • ‘The fungal spores found in the pillows fed off human skins scales and dust mite faeces.’
      • ‘Brushing your baby's scalp with a soft brush, like a toothbrush, can help loosen scales or flakes.’
      • ‘Skin cells regularly die and flake off in scales - but in people with psoriasis this process happens within days rather than weeks.’
      • ‘Psoriatic lesions usually have thicker scales that appear silvery after rubbing and bleed on removal.’
      • ‘Dust mites are about 0.3 mm long, feed on human skin scales, and are found in places with dust and high levels of humidity.’
      • ‘If you look at the bumps closely, you might see white scales or flakes on them.’
      • ‘This has been shown to cause dispersal of skin scales from the face, which can result in possible contamination of surgical wounds.’
    2. 2.2A rudimentary leaf, feather, or bract.
      • ‘By next spring, tiny bulbs will have formed at the base of each scale.’
      • ‘For instance, you can smear a homemade mixture into the opened scales of a pinecone, then hang the cone from a tree branch.’
      • ‘The buds left at winter pruning begin to swell in the few weeks prior to budbreak, and budbreak itself is marked by the first signs of green in the vineyard, as the first young leaves unfold and push through the bud scales.’
      • ‘Dwarf mistletoes have no leaves at all, just bud scales - the plants look like drab twigs.’
    3. 2.3Each of numerous microscopic tile-like structures covering the wings of butterflies and moths.
      • ‘Tiny scales cover the adult butterfly's wings that aid them during these critical searches.’
  • 3[mass noun] A flaky deposit, in particular.

    • ‘Sometimes it presents as a white scale over a pink macule or papule.’
    • ‘If left untreated, the scale may become thick, yellow and greasy and, occasionally, secondary bacterial infection may occur.’
    • ‘Primary lesions are erythematous papules and plaques with gray/white, silvery scale.’
    • ‘If scale is extensive in the scalp, the scale may be softened with oil, gently brushed free with a baby hairbrush and then washed clear.’
    • ‘These patches may have a thick silvery-white scale of dead skin on the top, and may be itchy.’
    • ‘On physical examination, there were multiple flat-topped papules with white scale on her hands, wrists, and shins.’
    • ‘As the scale attacks the foliage, it eliminates a clear, sticky substance called honeydew.’
    • ‘However, I would like to know if there is a way to rinse the honeydew from the scale and the associated black soot mold from the leaves of the magnolia?’
    • ‘Magnolia scale and bacterial leaf spot are sometimes apparent but seldom life-threatening.’
    • ‘One of the characteristics of seborrheic dermatitis is dandruff, characterized by a fine, powdery white scale on the scalp.’
    • ‘Close examination reveals a reticulated pattern of white scale known as Wickham's striae.’
    • ‘The lesion is demarcated sharply and the scale often is thick.’
    1. 3.1A white deposit formed in a kettle, boiler, etc. by the evaporation of water containing lime.
      ‘banging sounds emanating from the boiler may be caused by a build-up of scale’
      • ‘I live in a hard water area and am concerned about the build-up of scale in the central heating system.’
      • ‘This is the white scale or platy stuff that you may see on the inside of the dishwasher or coffee pots or other hot water contact areas.’
    2. 3.2Tartar formed on teeth.
      • ‘If plaque is not thoroughly removed, salts from the saliva cause it to become hard and form scale or dental calculus.’
    3. 3.3A coating of oxide formed on heated metal.
      ‘a spray-on chemical for removing welding scale and heat discoloration from stainless steel’
      • ‘Mr Wilkinson was of the opinion that since water treatment equipment had been installed only recently, there were likely to have been corrosion and a build up of scale over the years inside the pipe work.’
      • ‘Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement.’
      • ‘Every so often it is advisable to remove the mineral scale that builds up on the electrical heater element and in the reservoir pan.’

verb

  • 1[with object] Remove scale or scales from.

    ‘he scales the fish and removes the innards’
    • ‘She shrugged it off and returned to scaling the fish.’
    • ‘Ensure that fish fillets are scaled and skinned and that there is no blood or viscera left on flesh.’
    • ‘To prevent fish from sticking to the grill, don't scale the fish.’
    1. 1.1Remove tartar from (teeth) by scraping them.
      ‘dental hygienists give treatment such as scaling and polishing teeth’
      • ‘Extrinsic tooth stains can be reduced by scaling and polishing.’
      • ‘In the 1950s we scaled and cleaned teeth mainly by hand ultrasonic scalers and efficient aspirators of particulate matter and spray had yet to appear.’
      • ‘Visit your dentist or hygienist to have your teeth scaled and polished on a regular basis.’
      • ‘The Yorkie has strong, terrier-type teeth, but it is well to have them scaled by a veterinarian at regular intervals.’
  • 2[no object] (especially of the skin) form scales.

    ‘moisturizers can ease off drying and scaling’
    • ‘It causes inflamed and sore skin, blistering and scaling.’
    • ‘I would have terrible itching and scaling on my scalp that would usually bleed and scab over.’
    • ‘Skin cancers, such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, often affect the ear but will generally cause only localized surface change, scaling, and erosion.’
    • ‘It is characterized by fissuring, maceration, and scaling in the interdigital spaces of the fourth and fifth toes.’
    • ‘Lack of moisture causes an abnormal skin barrier, which induces abnormal desquamation and leads to scaling.’
    • ‘Severe dry skin, accompanied by scaling, flaking and itching that no amount of moisturizing seems to relieve, could be a sign of a more serious problem.’
    • ‘In very young babies there's a kind of eczema called cradle cap, where there's scaling on the scalp.’
    • ‘First, the scalp is examined for evidence of erythema, scaling, or inflammation.’
    • ‘Side effects of anthralin include redness, itching and scaling.’
    • ‘Athlete's foot can lead to fungal nail, so be aware of any skin rashes, itching or scaling, and use an over-the-counter topical cream before the problem worsens.’
    • ‘Other signs include hair loss, redness, scaling and secondary infection.’
    • ‘Psoriasis of the perineal skin presents as redness with itching and scaling.’
    • ‘The lesions may take the form of a patch, plaque, or nodule, sometimes with scaling or an ulcerated center.’
    • ‘You have a rather chronic relapsing condition, which occasionally oozes and has scaling as a predominant feature, affecting primarily the extremities of the skin.’
    1. 2.1Come off in scales or thin pieces; flake off.
      ‘the paint was scaling from the brick walls’

Phrases

  • the scales fall from someone's eyes

    • Someone is no longer deceived.

      ‘the scales had fallen from her eyes and she saw clearly what perhaps she should have been aware of earlier’
      • ‘It's discoveries like this that truly make the scales fall from my eyes.’
      • ‘For once the scales fall from your eyes, the whole business just becomes an catalogue of disasters.’
      • ‘I want to tell them it is time to let the scales fall from their eyes and see what is going on there in their names.’
      • ‘The whole thing, the scales fall from their eyes and they suddenly go from super-snooty, to super-grovelling.’
      • ‘They're some of the most pleasurable aspects of life - when you see something and the scales fall from your eyes, and it's like, ‘There it was the whole time.’’

Origin

Middle English: shortening of Old French escale, from the Germanic base of scale.

Pronunciation:

scale

/skeɪl/

Main definitions of scale in English

: scale1scale2scale3

scale2

noun

  • 1An instrument for weighing, originally a simple balance (a pair of scales) but now usually a device with an electronic or other internal weighing mechanism.

    ‘bathroom scales’
    ‘kitchen scales’
    • ‘The building looked very much like a country courthouse, with an intricate wrought iron sign hanging over the door, a pair of scales framed by swirling designs.’
    • ‘For years it's had the same black bass guitar in the window, surrounded by an array of hash pipes, weighing scales and stolen car radios.’
    • ‘But I don't have a pair of scales to check and it's been so long since I did check that I wouldn't know what's a loss and what's a gain.’
    • ‘It was opposite a splendid portrait of the King holding a pair of scales and sword, presumably showing him as the source of Justice in his Kingdom.’
    • ‘She has refitted the inside of the shop but will be doling out the confectionery in the time-honoured way, with a set of scales and brown paper bags.’
    • ‘With the help of a good pair of scales, establish the point at which your weight remains constant.’
    • ‘We might imagine a scale with two balancing pans.’
    • ‘When faced with having to make rapid estimations of weight without a pair of scales to hand - for example, before administering weight related doses of drugs - ask the patient to guess his or her own weight.’
    • ‘Inside a tiny front yard, a man with a Muslim's white cloth cap and a bicycle was holding a pair of scales on which reposed a silver fish, which ended in a neat pink ellipse where its head had been.’
    • ‘I weight him weekly, using a big pair of scales.’
    • ‘There were traces of diamorphine on some scales and a bottle of methadone which had been prescribed to someone else.’
    • ‘A set of cracked, broken weighing scales and a rusty tray were used for food preparation and storage.’
    • ‘Mr Li presides over it like a lean-shaven Confucius, grinding up powders and weighing remedies on a delicate pair of scales before dispatching them to the kitchen.’
    • ‘Separation goes paradoxically together with dependence because, as is the case with a pair of scales, one character's going up requires the other's going down.’
    • ‘The rest of our time will be divided between keeping the monster occupied and finishing packing, although it seems that there's very little we can do until we can get hold of a pair of scales.’
    • ‘Officers also found electronic weighing scales, cling film, food bags and a further block of cocaine hidden under some tea towels.’
    • ‘The Lord Christ is placing before us a pair of scales, and on one side of the balances is laid the whole world.’
    • ‘His hand scrabbled on the countertop, searching for a stick, a pair of scales, any weapon to fend off this unseen attacker.’
    • ‘Drugs squad officers have seized imitation guns, a scanner, knives, bars of cannabis, cocaine, weighing scales and smoking pipes in the past twelve months.’
    • ‘And, it's rider held a pair of scales in his hand.’
    weighing machine, balance, pair of scales
    steelyard
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Either of the dishes on a simple balance.
      • ‘A one gramme weight is placed on the scale pan of an electronic balance and the balance is covered by a glass bell jar.’
      • ‘It is certainly possible to put some powder in a clean bowl and use a small spoon to trickle powder into the scale pan until the proper charge is reached.’
      • ‘There is always going to be a little left in the tube over the scale pan and RCBS says to use the ‘trickle’ key to empty it.’
      • ‘Lyman also has an accessory called the ‘Powder Pal’ that combines the scale pan with a powder funnel.’
      • ‘If you're using a conventional balance beam scale, the case can still be used to transfer powder to the scale pan.’
    2. 1.2The zodiacal sign or constellation Libra.
  • 2South African A large drinking container for beer or other alcoholic drink.

verb

  • Weigh a specified weight.

    ‘some men scaled less than ninety pounds’
    • ‘The elder statesman had another perch bag of 3-13 as did third-placed man Adrian Goodwin who scaled 2-4oz.’
    • ‘His mother, Norma, is from Aghabullogue, Coachford, Co Cork, and the baby scaled 8lb 6oz.’

Phrases

  • throw something on (or into) the scale

    • Contribute something to one side of an argument or debate.

      ‘we should have thrown on the other scale all that was moderate in the Liberal Party as well’
      • ‘We must strike at the earliest moment before the Americans can throw strong forces into the scale.’
  • tip (or turn) the scales

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘drinking cup’, surviving in South African English): from Old Norse skál bowl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schaal, German Schale bowl, also to English dialect shale ‘dish’.

Pronunciation:

scale

/skeɪl/

Main definitions of scale in English

: scale1scale2scale3

scale3

noun

  • 1A graduated range of values forming a standard system for measuring or grading something.

    ‘a new salary scale is planned for all universities’
    • ‘They are low on the social scale, where scales are all-important.’
    • ‘Among other things, the law provides state money to offset the cost of indigent defense and requires each county to set a standardized scale for lawyers' fees.’
    • ‘It recommends a sliding scale from two to six points for each speeding offence as well as a scale of fines ranging from £40 - £100.’
    • ‘But now, officers at the top of their pay scale who fail to make the grade will lose ‘competency’ payments of just over £1,000 a year.’
    • ‘The BMC workers draw different pay scales ranging from basic pay of Rs. 3480 to Rs. 17890.’
    • ‘A further sample of marked tapes had to be submitted at a later date and at the end of the marking process each examiner was graded on an A-E scale.’
    • ‘After 12 months, the five patients improved by almost 40% on a standard scale measuring motor abilities.’
    • ‘We also used a modified version of a standard scale to measure level of social support.’
    • ‘Students are graded on a seven-point scale for each subject, with three further points available based on their performance across the diploma, producing a top score of 45.’
    • ‘The Government announces higher pay scales to encourage recruitment and bolster morale, yet doesn't mention that schools are expected to foot much of the bill.’
    • ‘As for teaching standards, we recently did well in an official Ofsted inspection (achieving grade two on a scale of 1-5).’
    • ‘Most independent schools pay teachers according to the national scales - but in some cases they pay above those scales.’
    • ‘Salary scales for computer science graduates can vary widely but can start at about 24,000, rising to about 45,000 in many cases.’
    • ‘This is then graded on a scale of one to 100 with a standard reference food, usually glucose.’
    • ‘Wine captured in bottle led to a market in older wines whose reputation, based on vintage and name, created a comprehensible and measurable scale of values.’
    • ‘They were protesting against the attitude of the Indian Bank Association with regard to revision of pay scales.’
    • ‘Officers can qualify for the threshold payments if they have served for 12 months at the top of the pay scale for their rank and meet certain standards in their job.’
    • ‘The pay scale for other teachers coming into the Philadelphia district ranges from $32,598 to $54,538.’
    • ‘Problems for students caused by differences in grading scales used at post-secondary education institutions around Alberta may finally have a remedy.’
    • ‘In the survey, employees were asked to rate the company across 65 questions, giving answers on a seven-point scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.’
    calibrated system, calibration, graduated system, system of measurement, measuring system, register
    hierarchy, ladder, ranking, pecking order, order, spectrum, progression, succession, sequence, series
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The full range of different levels of people or things, from lowest to highest.
      ‘two men at opposite ends of the social scale’
      ‘at the other end of the scale, premiership clubs are forced to pay huge wages’
      • ‘Here are the results, rated on a scale of the most famous infomercial titan, Billy Mays.’
      • ‘But at the other end of the scale another friend of mine has had twice as many different partners then me.’
      • ‘California uses both an elaborate report card and a school ranking (on a scale of 1 to 10) based solely on test scores.’
      • ‘The Justice gave the accused in that case a credit on a scale of 0.5 to 1.’
      • ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, companies rated Microsoft's security at 7.6, double the rating in a similar survey conducted last year.’
      • ‘On a scale of one to five, where one is the most harmful, Ofsted inspections score 1.7.’
      • ‘Results were read visually on a scale of 1 + to 4 +, with readings of > or = 2 + considered positive.’
      • ‘On the other hand prophecy through visions of angels is low down on the scale.’
    2. 1.2A series of marks at regular intervals in a line used in measuring something.
      ‘the mean delivery time is plotted against a scale on the right’
      • ‘Panelists must then complete an evaluation of the samples and mark the line scale for the intensity of each attribute.’
      • ‘He inserted a probe into the flue pipe and said the meter went off the scale.’
      • ‘While the patient looked at each tool, the data collector read the words on each VAS and provided a pencil or pen for the patient to mark on the scale.’
      • ‘Preoperatively, patients marked the scales before any medication was given.’
      • ‘Have them wait 30 seconds or so, and then ask them to rate their energy level once again by marking the scale.’
    3. 1.3A device having a series of marks at regular intervals for measuring.
      ‘she read the exact distance off a scale’
      • ‘Most gauging and wantage rods provide wantage measurements with direct reading scales calibrated in gallons.’
      • ‘The device reads UPC codes, interfaces with an electronic scale and downloads the audit data into your computer.’
      • ‘All of these outcomes were measured on visual analog scales with scores expressed as millimeters from to 100.’
    4. 1.4A rule determining the distances between marks on a scale.
      ‘the vertical axis is given on a logarithmic scale’
      • ‘Another measure, the geometric mean cost, can be derived by transforming the costs onto a logarithmic scale, calculating the average, and transforming this back.’
      • ‘The first is that the effect is exaggerated by plotting wealth on a logarithmic scale.’
      • ‘Tape rules with diameter scales could be used to wrap around any round object that would then give the object's diameter.’
      • ‘Nick has a new theory - you can only persuade people to upgrade on a logarithmic scale.’
      • ‘A complete description of our method, including graphs on logarithmic scales, will appear later this year in the new statistical journal Biostatistics.’
      • ‘The gain reduction meters use an exponential scale and go from to 40 dB of reduction.’
      • ‘The scale is logarithmic so a solution with a pH value of 3 has 10 times as much hydrogen ion activity as one whose pH value is 4.’
      • ‘Because the range of sound pressures that can be heard is so large, a logarithmic scale of decibels is used to measure sound intensity.’
      • ‘A logarithmic scale is used to better represent the multiplier's relative magnitudes.’
      • ‘Sound pressure against the ears is measured in decibels on a scale that is logarithmic.’
      • ‘Please note that the 34-year performance has a logarithmic price scale.’
      • ‘Second, the scale marked on the rule is nonlinear and (given the technology of the time) had to be marked by hand from a master pattern.’
      • ‘To normalize the 2 distributions, we performed the analysis with data transformed on a logarithmic scale.’
      • ‘This is clear from the plots using logarithmic scales, but the curved plots with an arithmetical scale on the vertical axes may falsely suggest a threshold.’
      • ‘The decibel scale is logarithmic - a noise level of 30 decibels is therefore ten thousand times quieter than the sound of a conversation.’
      • ‘Data are from US national ambulatory medical care surveys, 1989-94; axes are on the logarithmic scale.’
      • ‘Igniting with unstoppable force, the whole shuddering plot accumulates volume on a logarithmic scale before its explosive, bunker busting climax.’
  • 2[in singular] The relative size or extent of something.

    ‘no one foresaw the scale of the disaster’
    ‘everything in the house is on a grand scale’
    • ‘Today garden artistry is available to everyone, and it doesn't have to be on a grand scale.’
    • ‘It may not be on a grand scale but it is very accessible and there for all to enjoy.’
    • ‘From the moment a pontiff chooses a name for his reign, he starts building bridges on a grand scale.’
    • ‘All writers, he once said, were liars and with regard to his military service he lied on a grand scale.’
    • ‘If it's organic, from the soul - you can't reproduce it on a grand scale, like other things that have been pasteurized and distributed.’
    • ‘Well, it's hard to prove yet on a grand scale, in part because a relative minority of people shop online.’
    • ‘The teachers at Homewood have innovated on a grand scale to make sure every child has the best chance.’
    • ‘The French and Dutch results were punishment for political failure on a grand scale.’
    • ‘Vancouver is alluring on a grand scale, but it's the detail that ends up seducing you.’
    • ‘If I'm witnessing torture and inhumanity on a grand scale, the answer is no.’
    • ‘It's a betrayal of promises on a grand scale, and all the worse for being a betrayal of the poorest people in the world.’
    • ‘The prisons' management has presumed guilt over innocence and allowed torture and abuse on a grand scale.’
    • ‘It's a very commendable artistic adventure - to ask the small Ballet B.C. company of 14 dancers to work on a grand scale, to achieve on a small budget.’
    • ‘Here is dereliction on a grand scale, sludged in mud dumped from the Channel tunnel.’
    • ‘The new business opportunities have encouraged entrepreneurship on a grand scale.’
    • ‘At fashion shows, whether organised on a grand scale by professionals, or at the amateur level by college students, the saree display always fascinates the audience.’
    • ‘And he will try to demonstrate that he is a sinner on a grand scale, which the poor soul is not.’
    • ‘A conviction for corrupting judges on a grand scale would be more difficult to shrug off.’
    • ‘People of Belgaum are known to celebrate festivals on a grand scale, but the bursting of crackers was limited this time.’
    • ‘Everything here seems to be on a grand scale - the lakes and waterfalls as well as the mountains.’
    extent, size, scope, magnitude, dimensions, range, breadth, compass, degree, reach, spread, sweep
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[often as modifier]A ratio of size in a map, model, drawing, or plan.
      ‘a one-fifth scale model of a seven-storey building’
      ‘an Ordnance map on a scale of 1:2500’
      • ‘Oh, I forgot to mention, that all the while, I realize that I have this scale model of the spherical tower that I am holding in my hand.’
      • ‘We may even build scale models and test them in wind tunnels and other ways.’
      • ‘From that, a one-to-five scale model was generated, in which the complexities of bending and the joints could be investigated.’
      • ‘The highlight of this particular gallery will be the large working scale model of the Town Mill.’
      • ‘Floor plans and a scale model of the Gallery Quay development are on show today from 2-4pm at the on site marketing suite.’
      • ‘They pay all the expenses of the project with their own money coming from the sale of preparatory drawings, collages, scale models, all created before the completion of a project.’
      • ‘It merely means that shorter-term, fine geographic scale models were most popular.’
      • ‘A one-fifth scale model of the craft has, in tests, demonstrated high speeds and smooth running through a variety of wave patterns.’
      • ‘The teams use scale models and wind tunnel testing to hone their developments.’
      • ‘The four-feet by two-feet scale model is an exact replica of the stadium, with executive boxes, stands, and a players' tunnel.’
      • ‘They had opted for scale models, working gadgets and multimedia shows to attract visitors.’
      • ‘I use these sections to further develop the building's exterior and interior elevations and to build a scale model of wire for each design.’
      • ‘A look at the real engines and scale models, combined with the charts and diagrams on the walls, made various aeronautical principles easier to understand.’
      • ‘On display will be vintage cars, commercials, vintage tractors, stationary engines, scale models and motorbikes, along with the only steam motor cycle in the world.’
      • ‘A 23-member IOC delegation inspects a scale model of the Olympic Village planned for the north of Beijing.’
      • ‘The centrepiece of the displays is a pair of fascinating scale models, one of the city before Christ, the other in AD4.’
      • ‘It also has a sizeable collection of model vessels - a scale model is commissioned when each new ship is procured.’
      • ‘First, they built a one to ten scale model: a large object, which allowed them to work out the nuances of the form, and its spaces and lighting.’
      • ‘Would you want to see a film taking place in the real Beijing theme park with scale models of the world's most famous landmarks?’
      • ‘The beautiful 6 metre scale model at the visitor centre is 34 times smaller than the monument.’
  • 3Music
    An arrangement of the notes in any system of music in ascending or descending order of pitch.

    ‘the scale of C major’
    • ‘When I was a young boy as a school musician, I learned that music was more than scales or keys or how to make sure I was always in tune.’
    • ‘An ancient musical system, Chinese music uses a scale of seven notes, but focuses on five core tones with two changing tones.’
    • ‘Further encouraged by his teacher he eventually managed to produce all the notes of the major scale.’
    • ‘One of the most difficult passages for the violin in the first movement is a melodic minor one-octave scale in fingered octaves.’
    • ‘From behind every door came the sound of music: piano scales, a sad clarinet, a snatch of cello, a female voice in full Wagnerian mode.’
  • 4Mathematics
    A system of numerical notation in which the value of a digit depends upon its position in the number, successive positions representing successive powers of a fixed base.

    ‘the conversion of the number to the binary scale’
    • ‘The scale of notation for the DR score ranged from 0, for resistant plants similar to Kas - 1, to 4 for susceptible plants similar to Col-gl1.’
    • ‘The larger the base scale, the greater is the accuracy of the ACCS component in fulfilling its tasks.’
  • 5Photography
    The range of exposures over which a photographic material will give an acceptable variation in density.

    • ‘That is, the toe and shoulder of Azo form a much smaller part of the exposure scale of Azo as compared to traditional enlarging papers.’
    • ‘For example, the tonal scale of cyanotype varies from 9-11 steps with different light sources.’
    • ‘The chloride papers have a longer scale than bromide papers anyway, and the long development times bring out their best qualities.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Climb up or over (something high and steep)

    ‘thieves scaled a high fence’
    • ‘At her age she still has at least one more year in the under-19 section, but scaling the lofty heights of university in Christchurch seems to be her next challenge.’
    • ‘The thieves had scaled two fences and dragged the pup out of her locked kennel and lifted her over the walls, leaving two less valuable dogs behind.’
    • ‘He locked up on Friday night and when he came back early Saturday morning he noticed that the flag was gone, meaning thieves must have scaled a 15 ft high wall.’
    • ‘When the water showed no signs of slowing, they scaled a ledge and climbed over an air conditioning unit to the hotel roof.’
    • ‘‘New musicians, new forms of music, new findings are all mere milestones in this long journey towards scaling the musical heights,’ he maintains.’
    • ‘Now 34, he might be scaling such heights less frequently than he once did, but the desire is still there - and so, clearly, is the enjoyment.’
    • ‘But after scaling new heights with yesterday's hard earned point, the City manager immediately threw down the gauntlet to his team and challenged them to go one better than last season.’
    • ‘Squinting at the sudden brightness, she hurried over to the watch tower and scaled the steep stairs.’
    • ‘It was a steep climb, but we scaled it like we were part mountain goat.’
    • ‘CD players, watches, bottles of spirits and cash were taken in the second incident when the thieves scaled a fence, broke through the main door and climbed through a kitchen hatch.’
    • ‘He is then believed to have scaled the 20 metre-high steep slope which runs up from the school's perimeter to the base of the castle walls.’
    • ‘The man's initial rage at his fate gradually turns into acceptance as he begins to see the futility of trying to escape by scaling the pit's steep, loose sand walls.’
    • ‘The gruelling climb will see the participants scale heights of 4000m in very difficult conditions.’
    • ‘However, the beckon of the forest - a canopy of leaves under their head - far outweighed the consequences of scaling the valley slopes again.’
    • ‘And once she has tackled the project the 20-year-old will be scaling new heights when she embarks on a trek up the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro.’
    • ‘The time it takes to climb a rope or scale a ladder leaves soldiers highly vulnerable to attack.’
    • ‘The bus wheezes its way uphill with a wrenching of gears and whining of suffering brakes along the steep winding roads that scale the suburban hills around Sarajevo.’
    • ‘It was a case of students scaling new heights, in skills.’
    • ‘Visiting family in Vancouver, it became a familiar routine to scorn ‘At Your Own Risk’ signs and scale the steep winding inclines leading to Whistler.’
    • ‘He said that it was one of the tough events, jumping across that and then scaling a steep, often slick roof beyond.’
    escalade
    climb, ascend, go up, go over, clamber up, scramble up, mount
    View synonyms
  • 2Represent in proportional dimensions; reduce or increase in size according to a common scale.

    ‘scaled plans of the house’
    • ‘In addition, the signal integrity is reduced through the switch so this approach cannot be scaled to larger switch fabrics without the use of retimer circuits between each device.’
    • ‘I haven't tried scaling the recipe to any other size, but I expect it would work fine.’
    • ‘It was featured last fall in a solo show of mine, and the projection was scaled to fit the entire gallery, some 34 feet wide by 14 feet high.’
    • ‘As you can tell by the picture, trays are not scaled to size.’
    • ‘In the middle of the well-worn floor stood two of their number, wielding blunted swords that had been scaled specifically to their size.’
    • ‘These flattering styles include double front and back darts to offer a shapely silhouette and have been carefully scaled from small to plus sizes.’
    • ‘No need to celebrate literally with a towering screen, playground, and diner - just scale everything to the size of your yard.’
    • ‘Through its use of color and light, the building celebrates a child's sense of joy and fresh discovery and is perfectly scaled for its young users.’
    • ‘The corresponding files are small in size and can be scaled at any resolution without losses.’
    • ‘The thing that is instantly striking is the size of the place: Everything is scaled to children.’
    • ‘It scales its fonts to nearly any size, large or small.’
    • ‘Two equally scaled volumes incorporate the library collection and a sports hall.’
    • ‘Stipulated building conditions were also scaled according to the size of the proportion granted.’
    • ‘The geodesic grid is scaled according to the size of each dome and except in the smallest dome, where it becomes rather dense, the effect is amazingly light for such enormous spans.’
    • ‘Figures 1 and 2 are scaled by sample size to facilitate comparison.’
    • ‘But the combination of natural materials imparts warmth to the space, which is comfortably scaled.’
    • ‘Work must be scaled to fit the economics of each commission, even if that means having another income source to pay the bills until one hits the big time.’
    • ‘But it's nicely scaled and proportioned, and front porches enliven the streets.’
    1. 2.1[no object](of a quantity or property) be variable according to a particular scale.
      • ‘The Finns have a rather different approach, extending their legendary progressive views to parking fines, which scale according to one's annual earnings.’
      • ‘Asymmetrical virtualization, by contrast, can scale to any level, as the appliance does not handle any data flow or physical connections.’
      • ‘They start as low as 500GB and can scale up to tens of terabytes, for an investment as low as five cents per megabyte.’
  • 3North American Estimate the amount of timber that will be produced from (a log or uncut tree)

    ‘the operators were accustomed to having their logs scaled for inventory control’

Phrases

  • off the scale

    • Of or to a degree or level that is far in excess of what is normal or notionally measurable.

      ‘meteorologists warned that conditions would be brutal, with soaring temperatures and humidity off the scale’
      ‘viewing figures are likely to go off the scale because of all the hype’
      • ‘Chemicals in her body had built up so high from exertion they were off the scale.’
      • ‘He said cocaine dealing and usage had 'gone off the scale' in recent years in inner city areas, with a sharp reduction in price.’
      • ‘I had a look at the burnout test, and I was definitely off the scale last summer.’
      • ‘My visitor stats continue to climb off the scale.’
      • ‘After being locked down for so long, the hustle and bustle of the kitchen caused my anxiety level to go off the scale.’
      • ‘The passion and intensity with which these people laid into these songs are off the scale.’
      • ‘We get nuts all the time - we were based in Berkeley then - but this was off the scale.’
      • ‘The swell was near its peak; the waves went off the scale.’
      • ‘This could only make sense if it were true that some risks are simply off the scale of our everyday experience of danger.’
  • play (or sing or practise) scales

    • Perform the notes of a scale as an exercise for the fingers or voice.

      • ‘Some of them were trying to get their voices ready by singing scales, but otherwise, most of the girls were silent.’
      • ‘Eventually these skills may be polished by practicing scales, arpeggios and the like hands together, with one hand at a higher dynamic level.’
      • ‘Others tell of voices practising scales in empty rooms.’
      • ‘This piece is for intermediate students who are comfortable playing scales, two- and three-note chords, legato and staccato articulation.’
      • ‘My advice to other pianists is to gear such matters to a purpose, but after playing scales endlessly for a week that problematical arpeggio in the score can still sound awful!’
  • to scale

    • With a uniform reduction or enlargement.

      ‘it is hard to build models to scale from a drawing’
      • ‘Models of the planets are situated along the path, to scale with their size and the distance between them in the galaxy.’
      • ‘My picture of the world is drawn in perspective, and not like a model to scale.’
      • ‘Draw out your bedroom dimensions and on another sheet cut out your furniture to scale.’
      • ‘Use graph paper, making each square equal a given dimension to get all the components to scale.’
      • ‘Draw it to scale on graph paper which you can find at your local discount store.’
      • ‘The hugely impressive peace garden involved the digging out of a large map of Ireland from a grid drawn to scale.’
      • ‘Draw a room to scale and learn about choosing materials and accessories.’
      • ‘He arranged for a model of Khe Sanh built to scale to be set up in the White House basement.’
      • ‘If there are increasing returns to scale, this output reduction means an increase in average cost.’
  • in scale

    • (of a drawing or model) in proportion to the surroundings.

      • ‘I have had people tag me back, but generally they've retaliated in miniature - in scale.’
      • ‘From my vantage point, the cranes working away on the mounds resembled Matchbox cars in scale to the piles.’
      • ‘Staggering the garage's rooflines keeps the garage in scale with outbuildings of that era.’
      • ‘The maps are bigger in relation to the troops, but at the same time the walls and towers are larger and more in scale to the troop size.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • scale something back

    • Reduce something in size, number, or extent, especially by a constant proportion across the board.

      ‘in the short term, even scaling back defence costs money’
  • scale something down (or scale down)

    • Reduce something (or be reduced) in size, number or extent, especially by a constant proportion across the board.

      ‘manufacturing capacity has been scaled down’
      ‘his whole income scaled down by 20 percent’
      • ‘The plans were re-evaluated, and the board scaled them down, reducing the project's budget from $20 million to $13.5 million.’
      • ‘A team of up to 20 officers have been working on the case, although the size of the investigation squad has been scaled down in recent years.’
      • ‘Already, growth forecasts are being scaled down for next year, and they will be scaled down still further should the euro continue to rise on the foreign exchanges.’
      • ‘Taxes would be adjusted downward by a specified amount for each percentage point by which output is below normal, except that the size of the tax cut would be scaled down if inflation is currently well above its target.’
      • ‘To accommodate all these new costs clinical services have been scaled down, while matching assumptions about increased efficiency are only variably delivered.’
      • ‘The scheme was then amended, with one building being lowered by one floor, with reduced glazing, and the other two buildings were scaled down.’
      • ‘He states that in most other sports be it golf, hockey, hurling, tennis etc. the size of the equipment is scaled down for the younger players.’
      • ‘Most routes would be scaled down but some would be discontinued entirely.’
      • ‘A team of up to 20 officers has been working on the inquiry, although the size of the squad has been scaled down in recent years.’
      • ‘Occasionally it goes the other way, and something is scaled down to the extent that it makes me feel as if I'm the one that's disproportionately big, but that's just as bad.’
      • ‘Plans to house hundreds of asylum-seekers in rural centres could be scaled down to try to save key reforms being scuppered by the Lords, the Government hinted yesterday.’
      • ‘The amount of pears that I had yielded eight jars of assorted shapes and sizes, so I scaled things down a bit in the recipe below.’
      increase, expand, augment, build up, add to
      step up, boost, escalate
      reduce, cut down, cut back, cut, make cutbacks in, decrease, lessen, lower, trim, slim down, prune, curtail
      View synonyms
  • scale something up (or scale up)

    • Increase something (or be increased) in size or number.

      ‘one cannot suddenly scale up a laboratory procedure by a thousandfold’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin scala ladder (the verb via Old French escaler or medieval Latin scalare climb), from the base of Latin scandere to climb.

Pronunciation:

scale

/skeɪl/