Meaning of sliding scale

slid'ing scale'

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a variable scale, esp. of industrial costs, as wages, that may be adapted to changes in demand.
  2. a wage scale varying with the selling price of goods produced, the cost of living, or profits.
  3. a price scale, as of medical fees, in which prices vary according to the ability of individuals to pay.
  4. a tariff scale varying according to changing prices.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.