/ skeɪl; NAmE / noun , verb
[ sing. , U ] scale (of sth) the size or extent of sth, especially when compared with sth else :
They entertain on a large scale (= they hold expensive parties with a lot of guests) .
Here was corruption on a grand scale .
On a global scale, 77% of energy is created from fossil fuels.
to achieve economies of scale in production (= to produce many items so the cost of producing each one is reduced)
It was impossible to comprehend the full scale of the disaster.
It was not until morning that the sheer scale of the damage could be seen (= how great it was) .
—see also full-scale , large-scale , small-scale
RANGE OF LEVELS
[ C ] a range of levels or numbers used for measuring sth :
a five-point pay scale
to evaluate performance on a scale from 1 to 10
—see also Richter scale , sliding scale , timescale
[ C , usually sing. ] the set of all the different levels of sth, from the lowest to the highest :
At the other end of the scale , life is a constant struggle to get enough to eat.
the social scale
MARKS FOR MEASURING
[ C ] a series of marks at regular intervals on an instrument that is used for measuring :
How much does it read on the scale?
scales [ pl. ] ( NAmE also scale ) an instrument for weighing people or things :
bathroom / kitchen / weighing scales
( figurative )
the scales of justice (= represented as the two pans on a balance (5))
OF MAP / DIAGRAM / MODEL
[ C ] the relation between the actual size of sth and its size on a map, diagram or model that represents it :
a scale of 1:25 000
a scale model / drawing
Both plans are drawn to the same scale.
Is this diagram to scale (= are all its parts the same size and shape in relation to each other as they are in the thing represented) ?
[ C ] a series of musical notes moving upwards or downwards, with fixed intervals between each note, especially a series of eight starting on a particular note :
the scale of C major
to practise scales on the piano
—compare key noun (4), octave
OF FISH / REPTILE
[ C ] any of the thin plates of hard material that cover the skin of many fish and reptiles
IN WATER PIPES, etc.
( BrE also fur ) [ U ] a hard greyish-white substance that is sometimes left inside water pipes and containers for heating water
—see also limescale
[ U ] a hard substance that forms on teeth, especially when they are not cleaned regularly
see tip verb
[ vn ]
( formal ) to climb to the top of sth very high and steep :
the first woman to scale Mount Everest
( figurative )
He has scaled the heights of his profession.
to remove the small flat hard pieces of skin from a fish
to remove tartar from the teeth by scraping :
The dentist scaled and polished my teeth.
( technical ) to change the size of sth :
Text can be scaled from 4 points to 108 points without any loss of quality.
- scale sth down
- scale sth up
noun senses 8 to 10 and verb senses 2 to 3 Middle English : shortening of Old French escale , from the Germanic base of scale (noun - sense 5).
noun sense 5 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 .
noun senses 1 to 4 and noun senses 6 to 7 verb senses 1 to 4 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.