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(1)   A flattened rigid plate forming part of the body covering of many animals
(2)   A metal sheathing of uniform thickness (such as the shield attached to an artillery piece to protect the gunners)
(3)   An indicator having a graduated sequence of marks
(4)   A measuring instrument for weighing; shows amount of mass
(5)   (music) a series of notes differing in pitch according to a specific scheme (usually within an octave)
(6)   A thin flake of dead epidermis shed from the surface of the skin
(7)   A specialized leaf or bract that protects a bud or catkin
(8)   Relative magnitude
"They entertained on a grand scale"
(9)   The ratio between the size of something and a representation of it
"The scale of the map"
"The scale of the model"
(10)   An ordered reference standard
"Judging on a scale of 1 to 10"


(11)   Size or measure according to a scale
"This model must be scaled down"
(12)   Measure with or as if with scales
"Scale the gold"
(13)   Remove the scales from
"Scale fish"
(14)   Pattern, make, regulate, set, measure, or estimate according to some rate or standard
(15)   Climb up by means of a ladder
(16)   Reach the highest point of
"We scaled the Mont Blanc"
(17)   Take by attacking with scaling ladders
"The troops scaled the walls of the fort"
(18)   Measure by or as if by a scale
"This bike scales only 25 pounds"


Etymology 1

From , usually in plural , for } < ; see scan, ascend, descend, etc.


  1. An ordered numerical sequence used for measurement.
    Please rate your experience on a scale from 1 to 10.
  2. Size; scope.
    The Holocaust was insanity on an enormous scale.
    There are some who question the scale of our ambitions.
  3. The ratio of depicted distance to actual distance.
    This map uses a scale of 1:10.
  4. A means of assigning a magnitude.
    The magnitude of an earthquake is measured on the open-ended Richter scale.
  5. A series of notes spanning an octave, tritave, or pseudo-octave, used to make melodies.

: tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, leading note, octave interval


  1. To change the size of something whilst maintaining proportion; especially to change a process in order to produce much larger amounts of the final product.
    We should scale that up by a factor of 10.
  2. To climb.
    Hilary and Norgay were the first known to have scaled Everest.
  3. (computing) To tolerate significant increases in throughput or other potentially limiting factors.
    That architecture won't scale to real-world environments.

Etymology 2

< < , ; cf. , , .


  1. Part of an overlapping arrangement of many small, flat and hard pieces of keratin covering the skin of an animal, particularly a fish or reptile.
  2. A small piece of pigmented chitin, many of which coat the wings of a butterfly or moth to give them their color.
  3. A flake of skin of an animal afflicted with dermatitis.
  4. A pine nut of a pinecone.
  5. The flaky material sloughed off heated metal.
  6. Scale mail (as opposed to chain mail).
  7. Limescale


  1. To remove the scales of.
    Please scale that fish for dinner.
  2. To become scaly; to produce or develop scales.
    The dry weather is making my skin scale.

Etymology 3

From . Confer Danish , Dutch schaal; German Schale; Old High German scāla; Gothic skalja, Old English scealu ("cup", "shell"). Cognate with scale, as in Etymology 2.


  1. A device to measure mass or weight.
    After the long, lazy winter I was afraid to get on the scale.
  2. Either of the pans, trays, or dishes of a balance.