1 [skeyl]
one of the thin, flat, horny plates forming the covering of certain animals, as snakes, lizards, and pangolins.
one of the hard, bony or dentinal plates, either flat or denticulate, forming the covering of certain other animals, as fishes.
any thin, platelike piece, lamina, or flake that peels off from a surface, as from the skin.
Also called bud scale. a rudimentary body, usually a specialized leaf and often covered with hair, wax, or resin, enclosing an immature leaf bud.
a thin, scarious or membranous part of a plant, as a bract of a catkin.
a coating or incrustation, as on the inside of a boiler, formed by the precipitation of salts from the water.
Often, scales. Metallurgy.
an oxide, especially an iron oxide, occurring in a scaly form on the surface of metal brought to a high temperature.
Also called mill scale. such scale formed on iron or steel during hot-rolling.
a cause of blindness or ignorance, as regarding the true nature of a person, situation, etc.: You're infatuated with her now, but the scales will soon fall from your eyes.
Bible. an unspecified affliction that caused Paul to become temporarily blind. Acts 9:18.
verb (used with object), scaled, scaling.
to remove the scales or scale from: to scale a fish.
to remove in scales or thin layers.
to cover with an incrustation or scale.
to skip, as a stone over water.
Dentistry. to remove (calculus) from the teeth with instruments.
verb (used without object), scaled, scaling.
to come off in scales.
to shed scales.
to become coated with scale, as the inside of a boiler.

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English < Middle French escale < West Germanic *skāla; akin to scale2; (v.) late Middle English scalen to remove scales from, derivative of the noun

scaleless, adjective
scalelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
scale1 (skeɪl)
1.  any of the numerous plates, made of various substances resembling enamel or dentine, covering the bodies of fishes
2.  a.  any of the horny or chitinous plates covering a part or the entire body of certain reptiles and mammals
 b.  any of the numerous minute structures covering the wings of lepidopteraRelated: squamous
3.  a thin flat piece or flake
4.  a thin flake of dead epidermis shed from the skin: excessive shedding may be the result of a skin disease
5.  a specialized leaf or bract, esp the protective covering of a bud or the dry membranous bract of a catkin
6.  See scale insect
7.  a flaky black oxide of iron formed on the surface of iron or steel at high temperatures
8.  any oxide formed on a metal during heat treatment
9.  another word for limescale
10.  (tr) to remove the scales or coating from
11.  to peel off or cause to peel off in flakes or scales
12.  (intr) to shed scales
13.  to cover or become covered with scales, incrustation, etc
14.  (tr) to throw (a disc or thin flat object) edgewise through the air or along the surface of water
15.  informal (Austral) (intr) to ride on public transport without paying a fare
16.  slang (South African) (tr) to steal (something)
Related: squamous
[C14: from Old French escale, of Germanic origin; compare Old English scealushell]

scale2 (skeɪl)
1.  (often plural) a machine or device for weighing
2.  one of the pans of a balance
3.  tip the scales
 a.  to exercise a decisive influence
 b.  (foll by at) to amount in weight (to)
4.  to weigh with or as if with scales
5.  to have a weight of
[C13: from Old Norse skāl bowl, related to Old High German scāla cup, Old English scealushell, scale1]

scale3 (skeɪl)
1.  a sequence of marks either at regular intervals or else representing equal steps, used as a reference in making measurements
2.  a measuring instrument having such a scale
3.  a.  the ratio between the size of something real and that of a model or representation of it: the scale of the map was so large that we could find our house on it
 b.  (as modifier): a scale model
4.  a line, numerical ratio, etc, for showing this ratio
5.  a progressive or graduated table of things, wages, etc, in order of size, value, etc: a wage scale for carpenters
6.  an established measure or standard
7.  a relative degree or extent: he entertained on a grand scale
8.  music a group of notes taken in ascending or descending order, esp within the compass of one octave
9.  maths the notation of a given number system: the decimal scale
10.  a graded series of tests measuring mental development, etc
11.  obsolete a ladder or staircase
12.  to climb to the top of (a height) by or as if by a ladder
13.  (tr) to make or draw (a model, plan, etc) according to a particular ratio of proportionate reduction
14.  (tr; usually foll by up or down) to increase or reduce proportionately in size, etc
15.  (US), (Canadian) (in forestry) to estimate the board footage of (standing timber or logs)
[C15: via Italian from Latin scāla ladder; related to Old French eschiele, Spanish escala]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"skin plates on fish or snakes," c.1300, from O.Fr. escale (12c., Mod.Fr. écale) "scale, husk," from Frank., from P.Gmc. *skælo "split, divide" (cf. O.H.G. scala "shell," Goth. skalja "tile," O.E. scealu "shell, husk), from PIE base *(s)kel- "to cut, cleave, split" (cf. L. culter "knife,"
scalpere "to cut, scrape;" O.C.S. skolika "mussel, shell," Rus. skala "rind, bark," O.E. scell "shell"). In reference to humans, as a condition of certain skin diseases, it is attested from c.1400. As what falls from one's eye when blindness ends (usually fig.), it echoes Acts ix.18 (L. tanquam squamæ, Gk. hosei lepides). Verb meaning "to remove the scales from (a fish)" is attested from c.1440.

"pan of a balance," late 14c., earlier "drinking cup" (c.1200), from O.N. skal "bowl, drinking cup," in pl., "weighing scale" from P.Gmc. *skælo "split, divide" (cf. O.N. skel "shell," O.E. scalu, O.S. skala, O.H.G. scala, Ger. Schale, M.Du. scale, Du. schaal "drinking cup, bowl, shell, scale
of a balance"), see scale (n.1). The connecting sense seems to be of half of a bivalve ("split") shell used as a drinking cup or a pan for weighing. But according to Paulus Diaconus the "drinking cup" sense originated from a supposed custom of making goblets from skulls (see skull).

"to climb," c.1380, from L. scala, from scandere "to climb" (see scan). This is also the source (perhaps via It. scala) of the noun in the musical sense (1597), and the meaning "proportion of a representation to the actual object" (1662). Scale down "reduce" is attested from 1887.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

scale 1 (skāl)

  1. A dry, thin flake of epidermis shed from the skin.

  2. One of the many small, platelike dermal or epidermal structures that characteristically form the external covering of fishes, reptiles, and certain mammals.

v. scaled, scal·ing, scales
  1. To come off in scales or layers; flake.

  2. To become encrusted.

  3. To remove tartar from tooth surfaces with a pointed instrument.

scale 2

  1. A system of ordered marks at fixed intervals used as a reference standard in measurement.

  2. An instrument or device bearing such marks.

  3. A proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents.

  4. A standard of measurement or judgment; a criterion.

scale 3

  1. An instrument or a machine for weighing.

  2. Either of the pans, trays, or dishes of a balance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
scale 1   (skāl)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. One of the small thin plates forming the outer covering of fish, reptiles, and certain other animals.

  2. A similar part, such as one of the minute structures overlapping to form the covering on the wings of butterflies and moths.

  3. A small, thin, usually dry plant part, such as one of the protective leaves that cover a tree bud or one of the structures that contain the reproductive organs on the cones of a conifer.

  4. A plant disease caused by scale insects.

scale 2   (skāl)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. An ordered system of numbering or indexing that is used as a reference standard in measurement, in which each number corresponds to some physical quantity. Some scales, such as temperature scales, have equal intervals; other scales, such as the Richter scale, are arranged as a geometric progression.

  2. An instrument or a machine for weighing.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

scale definition

In music, the sequence of tones that a piece of music principally uses. A composition in the key of C-major uses the C-major scale, made up of the white keys on a piano.

scale definition

A system of marks set at fixed intervals, used as a standard for measurement.

Note: On a map, plan, or chart, a scale indicates the proportion between the representation and what it represents, such as the legend “One inch equals twenty miles” on a map.
Note: Temperature scales divide up the range of temperatures into equal degrees.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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