A piece of equipment for showing weight

strange boy

Senior Member
arabic-english
What do you call the piece of equipment that shows you your weight by standing on it?

Thanks in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    (i) A weighing machine. -> usually in a public place.
    (ii) Bathroom scales. -> guess where you'd find these. ;)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    When I was a kid there were scales in retail stores (usually in a drug store, but also in some diners) where you would deposit a penny and you got your "correct weight". We called these "Penny scales".



     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Not in BE. It is usually plural (like trousers, scissors, etc.) The plural comes from days when scales looked like this:

    A quick search of amazon.co.uk for bathroom scales yielded this. Many of the individual items are called "scale" and some are called "scales". Is this due to Amazon leading the Americanization charge, or to BE speakers not knowing that scales used to have two pans but seeing that there is only one item on the bathroom floor that they weigh themselves on, I wonder?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, those are scales. I was looking for them in the supermarket the other day to weigh some apples and I remember asking, "Where have you hidden the scales?"
    Ah, those are grocery scales.
    Surely you mean "grocery scale's" :D
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, I say "These are the scales". I presume the plural comes from considering the device to be not a pair but a set of scales, referring to the balancing mechanisms hidden inside.
    A spring scale might qualify as singular because it doesn't have balancing mechanisms, but I'd guess that those who call a single weighing device "scales" will tend to use the plural for all kinds irrespective of what makes them tick.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Bbbbut, today's scales are digital, no balancing mechanisms any more. The use of "scales" for the pair of items suspended from a beam, derived originally from the word "bow/shelll" and two were needed for functionality. When there is only one, the use of ""scale" seems etymologically acceptable:D
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I presume the plural comes from considering the device to be not a pair but a set of scales,
    See #8 ;)
    Bbbbut, today's scales are digital, no balancing mechanisms any more.
    As sdg reminds us, even on androids and iPhones, we dial, and we turn the volume up by pressing a remote.

    If you are looking for a scale on scales, it is the figures representing the weight around the dial. :thumbsup:
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    If you are looking for a scale on scales, it is the figures representing the weight around the dial. :thumbsup:
    So a blank LCD screen is a "scale" even before it displays the weight?
    I'm sure people will continue to use scales if that's what they grew up with, and scale if that's what they grew up with. Logic probably won't enter into it!
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    In my experience we call a device for determining weight a scale; the context tells us what sort of scale it is and what it looks like. If I put my potatoes on one in the supermarket, you know it's not the same sort of device as the one I was directed to step on in my doctor's office or the one on which my package is weighed to determine the necessary postage.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    OK, forget set, pair it is, and it's etymologically related to bowls, i.e. the dishes, one for the goods, the other for the reference weights.
    WRD (Collins Concise) said:
    scale /skeɪl/ n
    1. (often plural) a machine or device for weighing
    2. one of the pans of a balance
    Etymology: 13th Century: from Old Norse skāl bowl, related to Old High German scāla cup, Old English scealu shell, scale1
    Note the "often plural" -- this would appear to be BE-specific.

    As for the digital ones, typically based on strain gauges, don't they have reference weights inside so that the device can recalibrate itself? Otherwise, how on Earth (!) are they going to work on the Moon?
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    As for the digital ones, typically based on strain gauges, don't they have reference weights inside so that the device can recalibrate itself? Otherwise, how on Earth (!) are they going to work on the Moon?
    No, they don't! Only the really really expensive analytical scales might provide reference weights and auto-calibration. And yet, even those scales need be regularly calibrated with external reference weights to ensure proper and accurate operation at the specific location where it is used. (temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, gravitation, and Earth's magnetic field can play havoc when you're trying to accurately measure down to milli- and micro-grams. Don't even think about the Moon!)
     
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