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A weighing scale (usually just "scales" in UK and Australian English, or "scale" in US English) is a measuring instrument for determining the weight or mass of an object. A spring scale measures weight by the distance a spring deflects under its load. A balance compares the torque on the arm due to the sample weight to the torque on the arm due to a standard reference weight using a horizontal lever. Balances are different from scales, in that a balance measures mass (or more specifically gravitational mass), whereas a scale measures weight (or more specifically, either the tension or compression force of constraint provided by the scale).