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[tawl] /tɔl/
adjective, taller, tallest.
having a relatively great height; of more than average stature:
a tall woman; tall grass.
having stature or height as specified:
a man six feet tall.
large in amount or degree; considerable:
a tall price; Swinging that deal is a tall order.
extravagant; difficult to believe:
a tall tale.
high-flown; grandiloquent:
He engages in so much tall talk, one never really knows what he's saying.
having more than usual length; long and relatively narrow:
He carried a tall walking stick.
Archaic. valiant.
  1. seemly; proper.
  2. fine; handsome.
in a proud, confident, or erect manner:
to stand tall; to walk tall.
Origin of tall
before 1000; Middle English: big, bold, comely, proper, ready, Old English getæl (plural getale) quick, ready, competent; cognate with Old High German gizal quick
Related forms
tallness, noun
2. See high.
1. short. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Philothea's tall figure was a lovely union of majesty and grace.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • "That's it," he said, as he busied himself with a tall glass and the cracked ice.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • “A tall and stalwart esquire, methinks,” said Master Headley.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • He's not so large or tall, but quick and springy, and muscled like a panther.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • It lies behind that tall monument; I cannot see it for the blossoming boughs.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
British Dictionary definitions for tall


of more than average height
  1. (postpositive) having a specified height: a woman five feet tall
  2. (in combination): a twenty-foot-tall partition
(informal) exaggerated or incredible: a tall story
(informal) difficult to accomplish: a tall order
an archaic word for excellent
Derived Forms
tallness, noun
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: big, comely, valiant); related to Old English getæl prompt, Old High German gizal quick, Gothic untals foolish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tall

"high in stature," 1520s, probably ultimately from Old English getæl "prompt, active." Sense evolved to "brave, valiant, seemly, proper" (late 14c.), then to "attractive, handsome" (mid-15c.), and finally "being of more than average height." The Old English word is related to Old High German gi-zal "quick," Gothic un-tals "indocile."

Sense evolution is remarkable, but adjectives applied to persons often mutate quickly in meaning (e.g. pretty, buxom, German klein "small, little," which in Middle High German meant the same as its English cognate clean). Meaning "exaggerated" (as in tall tale) is American English colloquial attested by 1846. Phrase tall, dark, and handsome is recorded from 1906.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tall


Related Terms

stand tall

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with tall


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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