- a narrative that relates the details of some real or imaginary event, incident, or case; story: a tale about Lincoln's dog.
- a literary composition having the form of such a narrative.
- a falsehood; lie.
- a rumor or piece of gossip, often malicious or untrue.
- the full number or amount.
- Archaic. enumeration; count.
- Obsolete. talk; discourse.
Origin of tale
Examples from the Web for tale
Urban America is often portrayed as a tale of two kinds of places, those that “have it” and those who do not.The Rustbelt Roars Back From the Dead
Joel Kotkin, Richey Piiparinen
December 7, 2014
Much of the fun of The Churchill Factor comes from the delightful and evervescent way Johnson tells the tale.Boris Johnson’s Churchill Man Crush
Michael F. Bishop
November 22, 2014
The basic plot of The Virgin Spring, which was lifted off a Medieval tale, became the framework for The Last House on the Left.Wes Craven's Favorite Scary Movies
October 30, 2014
At its core, the tale revealed by the leak of what may be more than a million classified documents is a complicated one.‘Citizenfour’ Is Mesmerizing (If You Don’t Mind the Omissions)
October 20, 2014
The result is a Shakespeare-imbued tale of the 20th century.Book Bag: 5 Novels Shakespeare Sort of Wrote
October 10, 2014
To the end of the lives of the spectators, it was a tale of wonder.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
His great failing was that he exaggerated--no tale ever losing anything in his charge.Explorations in Australia
Better live, to write your own tale than be the abject one to another.
Worst of all, almost, Mrs. Baker told the tale of my misdeeds to John.The Bacillus of Beauty
It was always easy to get them to believe any tale which had gold in it.The Trail Book
- a report, narrative, or story
- one of a group of short stories connected by an overall narrative framework
- a malicious or meddlesome rumour or piece of gossipto bear tales against someone
- (in combination)talebearer; taleteller
- a fictitious or false statement
- tell tales
- to tell fanciful lies
- to report malicious stories, trivial complaints, etc, esp to someone in authority
- tell a tale to reveal something important
- tell its own tale to be self-evident
- a number; amount
- computation or enumeration
- an obsolete word for talk
Word Origin and History for tale
Old English talu "story, tale, the action of telling," from Proto-Germanic *talo (cf. Dutch taal "speech, language"), from PIE root *del- "to recount, count." The secondary English sense of "number, numerical reckoning" (c.1200) probably was the primary one in Germanic; cf. teller (see tell) and Old Frisian tale, Middle Dutch tal "number," Old Saxon tala "number," Old High German zala, German Zahl "number."
The ground sense of the Modern English word in its main meaning, then, might have been "an account of things in their due order." Related to talk and tell. Meaning "things divulged that were given secretly, gossip" is from mid-14c.; first record of talebearer "tattletale" is late 15c.
Idioms and Phrases with tale
see old wives' tale; tall tale; tell tales; thereby hangs a tale.