Scale of one to ten


Scale of one to ten

A scale of one to ten or scale from one to ten is a general and largely vernacular concept used for rating things, people, places, ideas and so on. It is the naturally most popular choice of scale used in ordinary speech, followed by scales of one to five and then one to four. Scales to four or five are more likely to be represented in use by conceptual (or pictorial) 'stars', especially when used to rate books, films, music albums, concerts etc. and especially by the media. Scales from one to five are commonly used to rate hotels, and in this use it would be rare not to refer to them as 'stars'. From this we derive the idiomatic adjective 'five-star', meaning 'first-rate'. It seems that the choices of scales to five and to ten are influenced by the number of fingers on a hand, and the usual use of ten as a numerical base, which in turn is derived from the number of fingers on two hands.


=Significance of 'One'=

The lower end of any scale of this kind is normally represented by 'one', and is usually held to mean 'awful' in some sense of the word. This vaguely implies that 'five' represents neutrality, an average state, or some degree of indifference. Depending on what it is being rated, it could be all of these, it could be only one, or conceivably the scale could be distorted so that 'five' had very little specific meaning. Furthermore, the middle of the scale is usually conceived in this mould, because the scale is most importantly set by its extremities - the concept of the one-to-ten scale being used as might any other word or expression as a tool of the language. That is, the fact that a scale of one to ten is used so much is what makes it desirable to re-use again and again, because it is the very function of language to provide us with signs and symbols that can be used to mean something, without having to explain what that meaning is every time we do so.

It is interesting to note that people do use 'one' as the lower extremity of indeed any scale of this kind, and not zero, which could be easily used in its stead, and would be equally intuitive. However, it is common for people to extend the scale in any case, in the same way that the Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai is commonly described as the world's only 'seven-star' hotel.


=Significance of 'Ten'=

The upper end of the scale from one to ten is normally represented by 'ten', and is usually held to mean 'excellent', or 'perfection'. This is because 'ten' (out of a possible ten) insinuates that there is no fault at all with what might merit such a mark.

Contextual Usage

The numbers one through ten are colloquially used as nouns, as in the example: "The performance was at best a two," or "What a beauty - she's a ten." The extreme ends of one and ten are used the most in this way. One can also say, for example, "I'd give that salesman a five," meaning a mediocre rating.

External links

* [http://www.onetoten.org Onetoten.org- a site where users rate and post reviews on a scale of one to ten]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • scale — I n. series of notes arranged in a certain sequence (mus.) 1) to play; sing a scale 2) a chromatic; diatonic; major; minor; natural scale system of classifying in a series of steps 3) a sliding; social scale 4) a pay, salary, wage; union scale… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • Scale — A bank that offers to pay different rates of interest on CDs of varying rates is said to post a scale. Commercial paper dealers also post scales. The New York Times Financial Glossary * * * scale scale [skeɪl] noun 1. [singular, uncountable] the… …   Financial and business terms

  • scale — Payment of different rates of interest on CDs of varying maturities ( maturity). A bank is said to post a scale. Commercial paper dealers also post scales. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * * scale scale [skeɪl] noun 1. [singular, uncountable]… …   Financial and business terms

  • ten — n. the highest rank on a scale of one to ten. □ She’s definitely a ten. □ On a scale of one to ten, this pizza’s a ten …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • scale — 01. Authorities fear the [scale] of the disaster is even greater than originally anticipated. 02. It took the climbers over 5 hours to [scale] the cliff face. 03. This model ship has been made to [scale]. 04. The [scale] of the damage to the… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • Scale space — theory is a framework for multi scale signal representation developed by the computer vision, image processing and signal processing communities with complementary motivations from physics and biological vision. It is a formal theory for handling …   Wikipedia

  • scale — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun 1 size/extent ADJECTIVE ▪ full ▪ It was several days before the full scale of the accident became clear. ▪ big, considerable, epic, grand, greater …   Collocations dictionary

  • scale — [[t]ske͟ɪl[/t]] ♦♦ scales, scaling, scaled 1) N SING: also no det, with supp If you refer to the scale of something, you are referring to its size or extent, especially when it is very big. → See also , large scale, small scale However, he… …   English dictionary

  • Scale (album) — Infobox Album | Name = Scale Type = Album Artist = Matthew Herbert Released = May 29, 2006 Recorded = November 2005 at Abbey Road Studios Genre = Electronica Length = 51:26 Label = Studio !K7 Producer = Matthew Herbert Reviews = * Allmusic… …   Wikipedia

  • Ten Tors — is an annual weekend hike organised and run in early May for 2,400 young people by the British Army on Dartmoor. The majority of entrants are schools, colleges, Scout groups and Cadet squadrons from South West England, though groups from across… …   Wikipedia