Here is a sentence from a platform game app:

In the game some of the jumps will take several re-runs to scale.

The player has to jump and safely land without tumbling into pits.

I know the lexical meanings of the word scale, but none of them seems to fit here.

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    There's also the compound adjective "to scale" meaning "having the same relative proportions," but that doesn't seem to fit (no pun intended) and I agree that none of the meanings of "scale" as a verb seem to fit the sentence either. Maybe this is a typo, or an awkward word choice by a non-native speaker.
    – TypeIA
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 11:25
  • @TypeIA: Not so. Any decent dictionary will have the relevant definition, as provided by chatnoir below. I'm half-inclined to closevote on the grounds that this is a straightforward "word meaning" question that could easily be resolved by using online resources (dictionaries). Commented May 20, 2019 at 12:24
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    @FumbleFingers However, scale is not usually used for the act of jumping, only climbing. So the question appears relevant.
    – chatnoir
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 12:25
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    @FumbleFingers I agree that a good dictionary - including the one linked by the OP - will list the meaning to which you refer. But I don't agree that this meaning fits the sentence provided by the OP (for the reason chatnoir stated).
    – TypeIA
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 12:41
  • @chatnoir: I can't really agree. Here are several written instances of scale the potential barrier (in the context of quantum "tunneling"), where the specific metaphorical reference is to sub-atomic particles going over a "high potential" barrier to reach a nearby lower point of equilibrium. Whether they actually "jump over" or "tunnel through" is effectively a matter of which macro-scale metaphor you want to apply, but clearly scale fits with the former perspective perfectly well. Commented May 20, 2019 at 13:10

1 Answer 1


I suspect the original writer of the sentence is using scale in the following way:

Scale (with object): Climb up or over (something high and steep). – Oxford Dictionaries (link below)

If we replaced jumps with mountains, the sentence would read perfectly fine:

In the game some of the mountains will take several re-runs to scale.

But here we have:

In the game some of the jumps will take several re-runs to scale.

where instead of mountains we have jumps (think ski-jumps).

However, it appears that the author may have taken liberties with the word somewhat if the required action was to jump towards something (high) rather than to climb.

The examples given in the Oxford Dictionaries had to do with:

scaling fences, mountains, slopes, ladders, hills, heights, inclines, roofs, ledges, roofs, walls, stairs and the like.

That is, all the objects required physically climbing them rather than jumping.

  • Oxford Dictionaries link here – scroll down a little and see "Verb" [with object], Definition 1.
  • Can you, please, link to scale in Oxford Dictionary?
    – Jan
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 12:13
  • Sure, updated with link.
    – chatnoir
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 12:18

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