SCALE, n. [L. id. If the sense is to strip, it coincides with the Gr. to spoil.]1. The dish of a balance; and hence, the balance itself, or whole instrument; as, to turn the scale.Long time in even scale the battle hung.But in general, we use the plural, scales, for the whole instrument.The scales are turn'd; her kindness weights no more now than my vows.2. The sign of the balance or Libra, in the zodiac.3. The small shell or crust which composes a part of the covering of a fish; and hence, any thin layer or leaf exfoliated or separated; a thin lamin; as scales of iron or of bone.The scales of fish consist of alternate layers of membrane and phosphate of lime. The scales of serpents are composed of a horny membrane, without the calcarious phosphate.4. A ladder; series of steps; means of ascending. [L. scala.]5. The art of storming a place by mounting the wall on ladders; an escalade, or scalade.6. A mathematical instrument of wood or metal, on which are marked line and figures for the purpose of measuring distances, extent or proportions; as a plain scale; a diagonal scale.7. Regular gradation; a series rising by steps or degrees like those of a ladder. Thus we speak of the scale of being, in which man occupies a higher rank than brutes, and angels a higher rank than man.8. Any instrument, figure or scheme, graduated for the purpose of measuring extent or proportions as a map drawn by a scale of half an inch to a league.9. In music, a gamut; a diagram; or a series of lines and spaces rising one above another, on which notes are placed; or a scale consists of the regular gradations of sounds. A scale may be limited to an octave, called by the Greeks a tetrachord, or it may extend to the compass of any voice or instrument.10. Any thing graduated or marked with degrees at equal distances.
SCALE, v.t.1. To climb, as by a ladder; to ascend by steps; and applied to the walls of a fortified place, to mount in assault or storm.Oft have I scal'd the craggy oak.2. [from scale, a balance.] To measure; to compare; to weight.3. [from scale, the covering of a fish.] to strip or clear of scales; as, to scale a fish.4. To take off in thin lamins or scales.5. To pare off a surface.If all the mountains were scaled, and the earth made even -6. In the north of England, to spread, as manure or loose substances; also, to disperse; to waste.7. In gunnery, to clean the inside of a cannon by the explosion of a small quantity of powder.
SCALE, v.i. To separate and come off in thin layers or lamins.The old shells of the lobster scale off.