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

Low-income families got to enroll children for free; middle-class families paid on a sliding scale. Dara Lind, Vox, "Julián Castro’s 2020 presidential campaign and policies, explained," 26 June 2019 Families earning more than that would receive debt forgiveness on a sliding scale. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, "What's different about Bernie Sanders' student loan plan? It would help more rich people," 24 June 2019 Warren wants to use some of that money to pay for universal child care on a sliding scale. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, "Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious," 17 June 2019 Those in private practice typically charge $100 to $150 an hour, although many work on a sliding scale, said Rebecca Wiggins, executive director of the Assn. for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. Liz Weston |,, "Liz Weston: Options for those seeking “advice only” financial planning," 9 June 2019 Players from the top 50 FIFA nations are considered for work permits, with a sliding scale of appearances required — from 30 percent of games over two years for the 1-10 teams to 75 percent for 31-50 teams. Rob Harris, The Seattle Times, "Post-Brexit bid to curb foreign player imports splits soccer," 21 Nov. 2018 If their pay is at or above that threshold, the department would provide relief on a sliding scale instead of full forgiveness. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Judge rejects DeVos' interpretation of order about Corinthian student debt relief," 20 June 2018 Fortunately, some providers operate on a sliding scale with some or all of their clients. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Ways to Find an Actually Affordable Therapist," 15 Feb. 2019 Services will be available to New Yorkers on a sliding scale. Katie Honan, WSJ, "New York City to Offer Expanded Health Care to Uninsured Locals," 8 Jan. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of sliding scale

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sliding scale

Statistics for sliding scale

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sliding scale

The first known use of sliding scale was in 1842

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sliding scale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sliding scale

Comments on sliding scale

What made you want to look up sliding scale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!