General English

General Science

  • noun a series of marks at fixed intervals used as a reference standard in measurement
  • noun a small overlapping plate of tissue on the skin of reptiles and fish
  • noun a hard white calcium layer that forms in containers and pipes carrying hot water in areas where the water supply contains a lot of calcium


  • noun a thin membranous leaf structure


  • noun a proportion used in determining distance on charts

Cars & Driving

  • noun a solid layer of corrosion products formed on metals at high temperature


  • noun the ratio of two values


  • A draftsman's tool with proportioned, graduated spaces.
  • A system of proportioned drawing in which lengths on a drawing represent larger or smaller lengths on a real object or surface.
  • The flaky material resulting from corrosion of metals, especially iron or steel.
  • A heavy oxide coating on copper or copper alloys resulting from exposure to high temperatures and an oxidizer.
  • Any device for measuring weight.


  • A series of marks which serve as a reference when measuring and indicating magnitudes or values. Seen, for example, in meters and indicating instruments. Such a scale may be, for instance, linear or logarithmic. Also, to change from one such scale to another, when more than one is available.
  • An instrument or device which measures and indicates mass.
  • A progressive, graduated, or hierarchical ordering or series of items, values, or the like. For example, a temperature scale, or a dB scale.
  • An established standard for describing, measuring, and stating values. For instance, the Mohs scale.
  • A qualitative or quantitative indication of relative magnitudes. For instance, nanoscale, or large-scale.
  • The ratio of the size of a body or region to a model or representation of it. For example, a scale used in lithography.
  • To change the manner in which a quantity is expressed, so as to fit in a different range. For example, to change from kilometers to meters.
  • A thin piece, slice, or flake. For instance, an iron oxide scale formed on the surface of a piece of iron.
  • synonymsize


  • noun any of the small flat bony or horny overlapping plates that cover the bodies of fish
  • verb to remove the scales from fish

Information & Library Science

  • noun a set of marks or standards for measuring things
  • noun the size or level of something in relation to what is usual


  • noun a thin flat piece of something such as dead skin
  • noun a system of measurement or valuation based on a series of marks or levels with regular intervals between them
  • verb to remove the calcium deposits from teeth


  • noun the ratio of size between a map and the area of ground which it represents
  • noun a diagram representing distance, which is usually found on the key of a map
  • noun a quantity of ammunition, equipment or weapons, which are allocated to a unit or grouping


  • verb to indicate on artwork how it should be reduced or enlarged
  • verb to calculate how much an illustration should be enlarged or reduced to fit

Origin & History of “scale”

English has three separate words scale. The oldest, ‘pan of a balance’ (13th c.), was borrowed from Old Norse skál ‘bowl, drinking cup’ (ancestor of Swedish skåal, from which English gets the toast skol (16th c.)). this was descended from a Germanic base *skal-, *skel-, *skul-, denoting ‘split, divide, peel’, which also produced English scalp, shell, shelter, shield, skill, probably skull, and also scale ‘external plate on fish, etc’ (14th c.). This second scale was borrowed from Old French escale, which itself was acquired from prehistoric Germanic *skalō – another derivative of *skal-. Its modern German descendant, schale, is the probable source of English shale (18th c.). The third scale, which originally meant ‘ladder’ (15th c.), came from Latin scāla ‘ladder’, a descendant of the same base as Latin scandere ‘climb’, from which English gets ascend, descend, scan, and scandal. (In modern French scāla has evolved to échelle, whose derivative échelon has given English echelon (18th c.).) The modern meanings of the word, variations on the theme ‘system of graduations used for measuring’, are metaphorical extensions of the original ‘ladder, steps’. Its use as a verb, meaning ‘climb’, goes back to the medieval Latin derivative scālāre.