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See more synonyms for tall on Thesaurus.com
adjective, tall·er, tall·est.
  1. having a relatively great height; of more than average stature: a tall woman; tall grass.
  2. having stature or height as specified: a man six feet tall.
  3. large in amount or degree; considerable: a tall price; Swinging that deal is a tall order.
  4. extravagant; difficult to believe: a tall tale.
  5. high-flown; grandiloquent: He engages in so much tall talk, one never really knows what he's saying.
  6. having more than usual length; long and relatively narrow: He carried a tall walking stick.
  7. Archaic. valiant.
  8. Obsolete.
    1. seemly; proper.
    2. fine; handsome.
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  1. in a proud, confident, or erect manner: to stand tall; to walk tall.
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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 formstall·ness, noun


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2. See high.


1. short.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for tallness

Historical Examples

  • Oh, the relief of the tallness and straightness and whiteness!

    The Incomplete Amorist

    E. Nesbit

  • The Germans pride themselves in their tallness of stature and skill in magic.

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

  • Her tallness, he thought, could be said to have come straight from him.

    The Heart of Arethusa

    Francis Barton Fox

  • Yet it carried itself with an effect of tallness and slenderness and grace.

    The Combined Maze

    May Sinclair

  • For coloured flowers are dominant to white, and tallness is dominant to dwarfness.


    Reginald Crundall Punnett

British Dictionary definitions for tallness


  1. of more than average height
    1. (postpositive)having a specified heighta woman five feet tall
    2. (in combination)a twenty-foot-tall partition
  2. informal exaggerated or incrediblea tall story
  3. informal difficult to accomplisha tall order
  4. an archaic word for excellent
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Derived Formstallness, 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

Word Origin and History for tallness



"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tallness


In addition to the idioms beginning with tall

  • tall order
  • tall tale

also see:

  • walk tall
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.