Scale (skāl), n. [AS.
scāle; perhaps influenced by the kindred Icel.
skāl balance, dish, akin also to D. schaal a
scale, bowl, shell, G. schale, OHG. scāla, Dan.
skaal drinking cup, bowl, dish, and perh. to E. scale of
a fish. Cf. Scale of a fish, Skull the brain case.]
1. The dish of a balance; hence, the balance
itself; an instrument or machine for weighing; as, to turn the
scale; -- chiefly used in the plural when applied to the whole
instrument or apparatus for weighing. Also used
Long time in even scale Milton.
The battle hung.
The scales are turned; her kindness weighs no
Now than my vows.
2. pl. (Astron.) The sign or
Platform scale. See under
Scale, v. i. To lead up by steps;
to ascend. [Obs.]
Satan from hence, now on the lower stair, Milton.
That scaled by steps of gold to heaven-gate,
Looks down with wonder.
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
Scaling his present bearing with his
To scale, or scale down,
a debt, wages, etc., to reduce a debt, etc.,
according to a fixed ratio or scale. [U.S.]
Scale (?), v. t. 1.
To strip or clear of scale or scales; as, to scale a fish;
to scale the inside of a boiler.
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 scaled, and the earth made even." T.
3. To scatter; to spread. [Scot. & Prov.
4. (Gun.) To clean, as the inside of a
cannon, by the explosion of a small quantity of powder.
Scale, v. i. 1. To
separate and come off in thin layers or laminæ; as, some
sandstone scales by exposure.
Those that cast their shell are the lobster and crab;
the old skins are found, but the old shells never; so it is likely
that they scale off. Bacon.
2. To separate; to scatter. [Scot. &
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.]
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
3. Gradation; succession of ascending and
descending steps and degrees; progressive series; scheme of
comparative rank or order; as, a scale of being.
There is a certain scale of duties . . . which
for want of studying in right order, all the world is in
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.
Scale of chords, a graduated scale on which
are given the lengths of the chords of arcs from 0° to 90° in
a circle of given radius, -- used in measuring given angles and in
plotting angles of given numbers of degrees.
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
Oft have I scaled the craggy oak.
Scale, n. [Cf. AS. scealu,
scalu, a shell, parings; akin to D. schaal, G.
schale, OHG. scala, Dan. & Sw. skal a shell, Dan.
skiæl a fish scale, Goth. skalja tile, and E.
shale, shell, and perhaps also to scale of a
balance; but perhaps rather fr. OF. escale, escaile, F.
écaille scale of a fish, and écale shell
of beans, pease, eggs, nuts, of German origin, and akin to Goth.
skalja, G. schale. See Shale.] 1.
(Anat.) One of the small, thin, membranous, bony or horny
pieces which form the covering of many fishes and reptiles, and some
mammals, belonging to the dermal part of the skeleton, or
dermoskeleton. See Cycloid, Ctenoid, and
Fish that, with their fins and shining
Glide under the green wave.
2. Hence, any layer or leaf of metal or other
material, resembling in size and thinness the scale of a fish; as, a
scale of iron, of bone, etc.
3. (Zoöl.) One of the small
scalelike structures covering parts of some invertebrates, as those on
the wings of Lepidoptera and on the body of Thysanura; the elytra of
certain annelids. See Lepidoptera.
4. (Zoöl.) A scale insect. (See
5. (Bot.) A small appendage like a
rudimentary leaf, resembling the scales of a fish in form, and often
in arrangement; as, the scale of a bud, of a pine cone, and the
like. The name is also given to the chaff on the stems of
6. The thin metallic side plate of the handle
of a pocketknife. See Illust. of Pocketknife.
7. An incrustation deposit on the inside of a
vessel in which water is heated, as a steam boiler.
8. (Metal.) The thin oxide which forms
on the surface of iron forgings. It consists essentially of the
magnetic oxide, Fe3O4. Also, a similar coating
upon other metals.
Covering scale (Zoöl.), a
hydrophyllium. -- Ganoid scale.
(Zoöl.) See under Ganoid. -- Scale
armor (Mil.), armor made of small metallic scales
overlapping, and fastened upon leather or cloth. -- Scale
beetle (Zoöl.), the tiger beetle. --
Scale carp (Zoöl.), a carp having
normal scales. -- Scale insect
(Zoöl.), any one of numerous species of small
hemipterous insects belonging to the family Coccidæ, in
which the females, when adult, become more or less scalelike in form.
They are found upon the leaves and twigs of various trees and shrubs,
and often do great damage to fruit trees. See Orange
scale,under Orange. -- Scale moss
(Bot.), any leafy-stemmed moss of the order
Hepaticæ; -- so called from the small imbricated
scalelike leaves of most of the species. See Hepatica, 2, and