In Thailand, we have an electronic public weighing scale where you have to pay 1฿ (which equates to about 3 cents) before using the machine. Because Thai girls (and boys, maybe) care a lot about their weight, we have this kind of scale in various places such as in front of convenient stores and inside big shopping malls. Does English have a word for this? Or could I describe it in few, say, not more than six words?

weighing scale picture 1 enter image description here


As far as I can remember, they were called weighing machines in the UK. My Concise Oxford Dictionary gives:

weighing machine n.

a machine for weighing persons or large weights

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 9th edition, 1995


weighing machine noun [ C ]

a piece of equipment that you can stand on to find out your weight, or place an object on to find its weight:

  • I stared in disbelief at the dial on the weighing machine.

Cambridge Dictionary

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We have these, although they also often measure body fat percentage. To be honest, I've never seen anyone use them since you can do the same for free in many other places.

I'm not sure what you'd call them, but like "public pay phone", you might be able to say "public pay scale". But since these are rare, and no one uses them, you're better off being more rather than less descriptive. The picture also helps.

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  • I was thinking "public scale". The pay part would be obvious if you tried to use it. "pay scale" could have a different meaning. – user3169 Dec 26 '16 at 20:45
  • @user3169 Mick's answer of "public weighing machine" is probably more descriptive. – Andrew Dec 26 '16 at 20:54
  • @Andrew I'm not sure what the modern electronic versions are called. The last time I looked, my local chemists had one. – Mick Dec 26 '16 at 20:57
  • @Mick same here, there's always one in every "drugstore" (i.e. the American term for "chemist") but as I said, no one ever uses them. Also I think they're all free, provided as part of some product advertisement. – Andrew Dec 26 '16 at 21:08
  • In BrE, a measuring device for weighing something is a set of, or pair of, scales (the plural form of the word). A "scale" is a device or an indicator that measures or displays any quantity - length, speed, temperature, etc. But I think "public weighing machine" is be a more commonly used term than "public scales" - though devices these are not very common in the UK. – alephzero Dec 26 '16 at 21:50

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