Meaning of SCALE in English

I. ˈskāl noun

Etymology: Middle English scole, scale bowl, scale of a balance, from Old Norse skāl; akin to Old Norse skel shell — more at shell

Date: 14th century


a. : either pan or tray of a balance

b. : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends — usually used in plural

2. : an instrument or machine for weighing

II. verb

( scaled ; scal·ing )

Date: 1691

transitive verb

: to weigh in scales

intransitive verb

: to have a specified weight on scales

III. noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French escale, eschale, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English scealu shell, husk — more at shell

Date: 14th century


a. : a small, flattened, rigid, and definitely circumscribed plate forming part of the external body covering especially of a fish

b. : a small thin plate suggesting a fish scale

scale s of mica

the scale s on a moth's wing

c. : the scaly covering of a scaled animal

2. : a small thin dry lamina shed (as in many skin diseases) from the skin

3. : a thin coating, layer, or incrustation: as

a. : a usually black scaly coating of oxide forming on the surface of a metal (as iron) when it is heated for processing

b. : a hard incrustation usually rich in sulfate of calcium that is deposited on the inside of a vessel (as a boiler) in which water is heated


a. : a modified leaf protecting a seed plant bud before expansion

b. : a thin, membranous, chaffy, or woody bract


a. : any of the small overlapping usually metal pieces forming the outer surface of scale armor

b. : scale armor


a. : scale insect

b. : infestation with or disease caused by scale insects

• scaled ˈskā(ə)ld adjective

• scale·less ˈskāl-ləs adjective

IV. verb

( scaled ; scal·ing )

Date: 15th century

transitive verb

1. : to remove the scale or scales from (as by scraping)

scale a fish

2. : to take off in thin layers or scales

scale tartar from the teeth

3. : to throw (as a thin flat stone) so that the edge cuts the air or so that it skips on water : skim

intransitive verb

1. : to separate and come off in scales : flake

2. : to shed scales

scaling skin

V. verb

( scaled ; scal·ing )

Etymology: Middle English, from scale (VI)

Date: 14th century

transitive verb


a. : to attack with or take by means of scaling ladders

scale a castle wall

b. : to climb up or reach by means of a ladder

c. : to reach the highest point of : surmount

scale a mountain


a. : to arrange in a graduated series


(1) : to measure by or as if by a scale

(2) : to measure or estimate the sound content of (as logs)

c. : to pattern, make, regulate, set, or estimate according to some rate or standard : adjust

a production schedule scaled to actual need

— often used with back, down, or up

scale down imports

intransitive verb

1. : to climb by or as if by a ladder

2. : to rise in a graduated series

3. : measure

VI. noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin scala ladder, staircase, from Latin scalae, plural, stairs, rungs, ladder; akin to Latin scandere to climb — more at scan

Date: 15th century


a. obsolete : ladder

b. archaic : a means of ascent

2. : a graduated series of musical tones ascending or descending in order of pitch according to a specified scheme of their intervals

3. : something graduated especially when used as a measure or rule: as

a. : a series of marks or points at known intervals used to measure distances (as the height of the mercury in a thermometer)

b. : an indication of the relationship between the distances on a map and the corresponding actual distances

c. : ruler 3


a. : a graduated series or scheme of rank or order

a scale of taxation

b. : minimum wage 2


a. : a proportion between two sets of dimensions (as between those of a drawing and its original)

b. : a distinctive relative size, extent, or degree

projects done on a large scale

6. : a graded series of tests or of performances used in rating individual intelligence or achievement

• scale adjective

- to scale

VII. noun

Etymology: scale (V)

Date: circa 1587

1. obsolete : escalade

2. : an estimate of the amount of sound lumber in logs or standing timber

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.