Scale Scale, n. [L. scalae, pl., scala staircase, ladder; akin to scandere to climb. See {Scan}; cf. {Escalade}.] 1. A ladder; a series of steps; a means of ascending. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

2. Hence, anything graduated, especially when employed as a measure or rule, or marked by lines at regular intervals. Specifically: (a) 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}. (b) 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. (c) A basis for a numeral system; as, the decimal scale; the binary scale, etc. (d) (Mus.) 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}. [1913 Webster]

3. Gradation; succession of ascending and descending steps and degrees; progressive series; scheme of comparative rank or order; as, a scale of being. [1913 Webster]

There is a certain scale of duties . . . which for want of studying in right order, all the world is in confusion. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

4. 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. [1913 Webster]

{Scale of chords}, a graduated scale on which are given the lengths of the chords of arcs from 0[deg] to 90[deg] in a circle of given radius, -- used in measuring given angles and in plotting angles of given numbers of degrees. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • scale — scale1 [skāl] n. [ME < LL scala (in Vulg., Jacob s ladder) < L, usually as pl., scalae, flight of stairs, ladder < * scandsla < scandere, to climb: see DESCEND] 1. Obs. a) a ladder or flight of stairs b) any means of ascent 2 …   English World dictionary

  • Scale — Scale, n. [Cf. AS. scealu, scalu, a shell, parings; akin to D. schaal, G. schale, OHG. scala, Dan. & Sw. skal a shell, Dan. ski[ae]l a fish scale, Goth. skalja tile, and E. shale, shell, and perhaps also to scale of a balance; but perhaps rather… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scale — Ⅰ. scale [1] ► NOUN 1) each of the small overlapping plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles. 2) a thick dry flake of skin. 3) a white deposit formed in a kettle, boiler, etc. by the evaporation of water containing lime. 4) tartar formed… …   English terms dictionary

  • Scale — (sk[=a]l), n. [AS. sc[=a]le; perhaps influenced by the kindred Icel. sk[=a]l balance, dish, akin also to D. schaal a scale, bowl, shell, G. schale, OHG. sc[=a]la, Dan. skaal drinking cup, bowl, dish, and perh. to E. scale of a fish. Cf. {Scale}… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Scale — Scale, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Scaled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Scaling}.] To weigh or measure according to a scale; to measure; also, to grade or vary according to a scale or system. [1913 Webster] Scaling his present bearing with his past. Shak. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Scale — Scale, v. t. 1. To strip or clear of scale or scales; as, to scale a fish; to scale the inside of a boiler. [1913 Webster] 2. To take off in thin layers or scales, as tartar from the teeth; to pare off, as a surface. If all the mountains were… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Scale — Scale, v. t. [Cf. It. scalare, fr. L. scalae, scala. See {Scale} a ladder.] 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. [1913 Webster] Oft have I scaled the craggy …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scale — [n1] graduated system calibration, computation, degrees, extent, gamut, gradation, hierarchy, ladder, order, pecking order*, progression, proportion, range, ranking, rate, ratio, reach, register, rule, scope, sequence, series, spectrum, spread,… …   New thesaurus

  • Scale — Scale, v. i. 1. To separate and come off in thin layers or lamin[ae]; as, some sandstone scales by exposure. [1913 Webster] Those that cast their shell are the lobster and crab; the old skins are found, but the old shells never; so it is likely… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scale — n: a set of graduated wage rates; also: a wage consistent with such rates compare minimum wage Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. scale …   Law dictionary

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