sliding scale


Definition of sliding scale 

1 : a wage scale geared to the selling price of the product or to the consumer price index but usually guaranteeing a minimum below which the wage will not fall

2a : a system for raising or lowering tariffs in accord with price changes

b : a flexible scale (as of fees or subsidies) adjusted to the needs or income of individuals the sliding scale of medical fees

Examples of sliding scale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Those are set on a sliding scale, but the rate is 2% for people who earn more than 10,000 yuan ($1,441) a month. Shan Li, WSJ, "It’s Official: China’s E-Commerce King Is a Communist," 26 Nov. 2018 If your therapist accepts payment on a sliding scale, that can be a great way to lower your financial burden. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "8 Signs a Sex Therapist Might Improve Your Life (and How to Find One)," 26 Oct. 2018 Then, Southern Company will assume a greater and greater share of the costs on a sliding scale as the project runs more over budget. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Vote results: Construction will continue on Vogtle nuclear power plant," 27 Sep. 2018 Prices are set on a sliding scale, starting at $75 for travelers up to 30 years old, increasing to $135 for customers up to 50 years, and $179 for up to 60 years. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "You’ve Been Buying Travel Insurance All Wrong," 22 Aug. 2018 The amount is based on a sliding scale of your income, capped at no more than 64 percent of the state average weekly wage. Katie Johnston,, "Here’s what we know about the state’s paid leave program," 22 June 2018 The cost of service is provided on a sliding scale, starting at $7 base rate plus $2.50 a mile. Joshua Emerson Smith,, "Who offers wheelchair accessible rides?," 25 Apr. 2018 Enrollees must make contributions to a health savings account, on a sliding scale based on income, to qualify for full benefits. New York Times, "Finally, Some Answers on the Effects of Medicaid Expansion," 2 July 2018 Students must earn at least a 2.3 GPA in core courses to be eligible to compete immediately plus an SAT or ACT score that meets a certain threshold on a sliding scale based on the core course GPA. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Reclassifying is trending up in college basketball, for better or worse," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sliding scale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sliding scale

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for sliding scale

The first known use of sliding scale was in 1842

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More Definitions for sliding scale

sliding scale


English Language Learners Definition of sliding scale

: a system in which the amount that people are required to pay in fees, taxes, etc., changes according to different situations or conditions

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a knickknack or trinket

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