Definition of scale noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//skeɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//skeɪl//
    Parts of animals
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  1. 1  [singular, uncountable] the size or extent of something, especially when compared with something else They entertain on a large scale (= they hold expensive parties with a lot of guests). Here was corruption on a grand scale. On a global scale, 77% of energy is created from fossil fuels. to achieve economies of scale in production (= to produce many items so the cost of producing each one is reduced) scale of something It was impossible to comprehend the full scale of the disaster. It was not until morning that the sheer scale of the damage could be seen (= how great it was). see also full-scale, large-scale, small-scale
  2. range of levels
  3. 2  [countable] a range of levels or numbers used for measuring something a five-point pay scale to evaluate performance on a scale from 1 to 10 The salary scale goes from £12 000 to £20 000. a scale of charges see also Richter scale, sliding scale, timescale
  4. 3  [countable, usually singular] the set of all the different levels of something, from the lowest to the highest At the other end of the scale, life is a constant struggle to get enough to eat. the social scale
  5. marks for measuring
  6. 4  [countable] a series of marks at regular intervals on an instrument that is used for measuring How much does it read on the scale?
  7. weighing instrument
  8. 5   scales [plural] (North American English also scale) an instrument for weighing people or things bathroom/kitchen/weighing scales (figurative) the scales of justice (= represented as the two pans on a balance (5))
  9. of map/diagram/model
  10. 6  [countable] the relation between the actual size of something and its size on a map, diagram or model that represents it a scale of 1:25 000 a scale model/drawing Both plans are drawn to the same scale. Is this diagram to scale (= are all its parts the same size and shape in relation to each other as they are in the thing represented)? Wordfindercompass, globe, GPS, grid, key, latitude, map, navigate, reference, scale
  11. in music
  12. 7 [countable] a series of musical notes moving upwards or downwards, with fixed intervals between each note, especially a series of eight starting on a particular note the scale of C major to practise scales on the piano compare key, octave
  13. of fish/reptile
  14. 8 [countable] any of the thin plates of hard material that cover the skin of many fish and reptiles The beast was a dragon, with great purple and green scales. See related entries: Parts of animals
  15. in water pipes, etc.
  16. 9(British English also fur) [uncountable] a hard greyish-white substance that is sometimes left inside water pipes and containers for heating water see also limescale
  17. on teeth
  18. 10[uncountable] a hard substance that forms on teeth, especially when they are not cleaned regularly compare plaque
  19. Word Originnoun senses 1 to 4 and noun senses 6 to 7 late Middle English: from Latin scala ‘ladder’ (the verb via Old French escaler or medieval Latin scalare ‘climb’), from the base of Latin scandere ‘to climb’. noun sense 5 Middle English (in the sense ‘drinking cup’, surviving in South African English): from Old Norse skál ‘bowl’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schaal, German Schale ‘bowl’, also to English dialect shale ‘dish’. noun senses 8 to 10 Middle English: shortening of Old French escale, from the Germanic base of scale (noun - sense 5).Extra examples After ten years, she had worked her way to the top of the pay scale. Benefits are paid on a sliding scale according to family income. Can you give me any sort of time scale for the completion of the building work? Do they always entertain on such a lavish scale? Economies of scale enable the larger companies to lower their prices. Given the scale of the changes, it is essential that all managers familiarize themselves with the details. He has risen up the social scale from rather humble beginnings. He’s made a scale model of the Eiffel Tower. It is difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of the suffering caused by the war. It was several days before the full scale of the accident became clear. On a scale of 1 to 10, he scores 7. Patients were asked to state their level of anxiety on a 10-point rating scale. The city would operate on a more human scale if cars were banned from the centre. The company has a five-point pay scale. The dolls are now produced on a commercial scale. The earthquake measured 6.4 on the Richter scale. The final building is realized on a human scale. The map has a scale of one centimetre to the kilometre. The paintings are small in scale. The plan of the building is not drawn to scale. They plan to expand the scale and scope of their operations. We could hear her practising her scales. We need to determine the scale of the problem. Where do birds come on the evolutionary scale? a misuse of presidential power on an unprecedented scale a scale of 1 : 25 000 a scale ranging from ‘utterly miserable’ to ‘deliriously happy’ a sliding scale based on income pollution on a massive scale the scale of the project/​task At the bottom end of the scale, there are people living on under a dollar a day. At what point on the evolutionary scale do birds come? Engineers have built a scale model of part of the coast. Farm workers were always considered to be low down on the social scale. Here was corruption on a grand scale. How would you judge our service on a scale of one to ten? Is this diagram to scale? It was not until morning that the sheer scale of the damage could be seen. On a global scale, 77% of energy is created from fossil fuels. On the response sheet, the scale of answers ranged from ‘excellent’ to ‘extremely poor’. Please see the attached sheet for our scale of fees. The map is drawn to a scale of 1:25000. There are incredibly wealthy people living here, but at the other end of the scale there are thousands living in poverty. There is an ascending scale of penalties for traffic offences. They entertain on a large scale. We are striving to achieve economies of scale in production. a salary/​pay scaleIdioms
    tip the balance/scales (also swing the balance)
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    to affect the result of something in one way rather than another In an interview, smart presentation can tip the scales in your favour. New evidence tipped the balance against the prosecution.
    tip the scales at something
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    to weigh a particular amount He tipped the scales at just over 80 kilos.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: scale