—n. 1. Zool. a. one of the thin, flat, horny plates forming the covering of certain animals, as snakes, lizards, and pangolins.
b. one of the hard, bony or dentinal plates, either flat or denticulate, forming the covering of certain other animals, as fishes.
2. any thin, platelike piece, lamina, or flake that peels off from a surface, as from the skin.
3. Bot. a. Also called bud scale. a rudimentary body, usually a specialized leaf and often covered with hair, wax, or resin, enclosing an immature leaf bud.
b. a thin, scarious or membranous part of a plant, as a bract of a catkin.
4. See scale insect. 5. a coating or incrustation, as on the inside of a boiler, formed by the precipitation of salts from the water.
6. Often, scales.Metall. a. an oxide, esp. an iron oxide, occurring in a scaly form on the surface of metal brought to a high temperature.
b. Also called mill scale. such scale formed on iron or steel during hot-rolling.
7. scales, a. 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. b. Bible.an unspecified affliction that caused Paul to become temporarily blind. Acts 9:18.
—v.t. 1. to remove the scales or scale from: to scale a fish. 2. to remove in scales or thin layers.
3. to cover with an incrustation or scale.
4. to skip, as a stone over water.
5. Dentistry.to remove (calculus) from the teeth with instruments.
—v.i. 1. to come off in scales.
2. to shed scales.
3. to become coated with scale, as the inside of a boiler.
—n. 1. Often, scales. a balance or any of various other instruments or devices for weighing: We gave the parents a baby scale. The butcher placed the meat on the scales. 2. Also called scalepan. either of the pans or dishes of a balance.
3. Scales,Astron.,Astrol.the constellation or sign of Libra; Balance.
4. tip the scale or scales, a. to weigh: He tips the scales at 190 lbs. b. to turn the trend of favor, control, etc.: The present crisis should tip the scales for our candidate. 5. turn the scale or scales, to decide in favor of one side or faction; determine the outcome: It would take a miracle to turn the scales for us now.
—v.t. 1. to weigh in or as if in scales.
2. to have a weight of.
—n. 1. a succession or progression of steps or degrees; graduated series: the scale of taxation; the social scale. 2. a series of marks laid down at determinate distances, as along a line, for purposes of measurement or computation: the scale of a thermometer. 3. a graduated line, as on a map, representing proportionate size.
4. a table of graduated rates, as of prices or wages: These unions use different scales. 5. a wage that conforms to such rates: How much is scale? 6. Also called union scale. a wage fixed by contract that is the minimum permitted to be paid to or accepted by a particular category of employed persons: All actors and musicians for the performance, including the stars, are working for scale. 7. an instrument with graduated spaces, as for measuring.
8. the proportion that a representation of an object bears to the object itself: a model on a scale of one inch to one foot. 9. the ratio of distances or sometimes of areas on a map to the corresponding values on the earth.
10. a certain relative or proportionate size or extent: They built a residence on a yet more magnificent scale. 11. a standard of measurement or estimation; point of reference by which to gauge or rate: We have no scale by which to judge his achievements. 12. Music.a succession of tones ascending or descending according to fixed intervals, esp. such a series beginning on a particular note: the major scale of C. 13. Educ.,Psychol.a graded series of tests or tasks for measuring intelligence, achievement, adjustment, etc.
14. Arith.a system of numerical notation: the decimal scale. 15. anything by which one may ascend.
16. Obs. a. a ladder.
b. a flight of stairs.
—v.t. 1. to climb by or as if by a ladder; climb up or over.
2. to make according to scale.
3. to adjust in amount according to a fixed scale or proportion (often fol. by down or up): to scale down wages. 4. to measure by or as if by a scale.
5. Lumbering. a. to measure (logs).
b. to estimate the amount of (standing timber).
6. Australian Informal.to ride on (public transportation) without paying the fare.
—v.i. 1. to climb; ascend; mount.
2. to progress in a graduated series.