from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A reckoning, score, or amount.
  • noun A record of a reckoning, score, or amount.
  • noun The act of scoring a point or goal in a game or contest.
  • noun A stick on which notches are made to keep a count or score.
  • noun A stick on which notches were formerly made to keep a record of amounts paid or owed.
  • noun A mark used in recording a number of acts or objects, most often in series of five, consisting of four vertical lines canceled diagonally or horizontally by a fifth line.
  • noun A label, ticket, or piece of metal or wood used for identification or classification, especially in gardens and greenhouses.
  • noun Nautical A metal plate attached to a ship's machinery and bearing instructions for its use.
  • noun Archaic Something that is very similar or corresponds to something else; a double or counterpart.
  • intransitive verb To reckon or count. Often used with up.
  • intransitive verb To make a record of (an amount, for example).
  • intransitive verb To score (a point or goal) in a game or contest.
  • intransitive verb To label, as with a ticket, for identification or classification.
  • intransitive verb To be alike; correspond or agree.
  • intransitive verb To keep a record, as of a score in a game.
  • intransitive verb To score a point or goal in a game or contest.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In a tall manner.
  • Stoutly; boldly.
  • noun A piece of wood on which notches or scores are cut to mark numbers, as in keeping an account or giving a receipt; loosely, anything on which a score or an account is kept.
  • noun A score kept upon a notched stick or by other means; a reckoning; an account; a record as of debit and credit or of the score in a game.
  • noun A mark made to register a certain number of objects; one of a series of consecutive marks by which a number of objects are recorded or checked; also, a number as thus recorded; a number serving as a unit of computation.
  • noun A ticket or label of wood, metal, or the like used as a means of identification; specifically, in horticulture, such a ticket bearing either a number referring to a catalogue, or the name of the plant with which it is connected.
  • noun By extension, anything corresponding to another as duplicate or counterpart.
  • noun An abbreviation of tally-shop.
  • noun Same as tally-ho.
  • Same as tally-ho.
  • noun An Italian: as, the Tallies are working on the railroad. Dialect Notes, II. vi.
  • To mark or record on a tally; score; register.
  • To reckon; count; sum: with up.
  • To score with corresponding notches; hence, to cause to conform; suit; adapt; match.
  • To parallel; do or return in kind.
  • Nautical, to put aft, as the sheets or lower corners of the mainsail and foresail.
  • To correspond, as one part of a tally to the other; conform; agree.
  • In basset, faro, etc., to act as banker.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Originally, a piece of wood on which notches or scores were cut, as the marks of number; later, one of two books, sheets of paper, etc., on which corresponding accounts were kept.
  • noun Hence, any account or score kept by notches or marks, whether on wood or paper, or in a book; especially, one kept in duplicate.
  • noun One thing made to suit another; a match; a mate.
  • noun A notch, mark, or score made on or in a tally.
  • noun A tally shop. See Tally shop, below.
  • noun a shop at which goods or articles are sold to customers on account, the account being kept in corresponding books, one called the tally, kept by the buyer, the other the counter tally, kept by the seller, and the payments being made weekly or otherwise by agreement. The trade thus regulated is called tally trade.
  • noun [Obs.] to act in correspondence, or alike.
  • adverb obsolete Stoutly; with spirit.
  • transitive verb To score with correspondent notches; hence, to make to correspond; to cause to fit or suit.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To check off, as parcels of freight going inboard or outboard.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) to dovetail together.
  • intransitive verb To be fitted; to suit; to correspond; to match.
  • intransitive verb To make a tally; to score.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English taly, from Anglo-Norman tallie, from Medieval Latin tallia, from Latin tālea, stick.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

tall +‎ -ly


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  • "Waist" (Russian origin)in Nadsat (literary lingo from A Clockwork orange).

    January 7, 2009

  • The first financial derivatives. Secure for much the same reason prime number encryption is. The abolition of tallies caused the burning of the Houses of Parliament. 'You promised you'd tell us about pointed sticks.'

    Full fascinating story told at Exchequer tallies at Economist's View

    July 30, 2009

  • Perhaps someone can explain this usage for me:

    "I've been doing a Spanish language course in Seville, and apparently only young people do Spanish language courses in Seville. I was the oldest person in my class, clearly – the second-oldest person was 25. The next oldest was 20. The rest of the students fell between the grand ages of 18 and 19.

    Obviously I could have chosen to just go to my classes and then go back to my house and have nothing to do with the young 'uns. But that's not really my style.

    So I've been hanging out in a dingy student flat in my spare time. I've been eating instant noodles. I've been drinking tallies of supermarket beer. I've been playing drinking games like flip cup and kings. (Actually, I've been instigating drinking games like flip-cup and kings.)"

    - Ben Groundwater, Am I Too Old For This?,, 5 Dec 2012.

    December 25, 2012

  • Is it some variation of tall? Something like "Pour me a tall one, bartender," or "You're like a tall drink of water?"

    December 25, 2012

  • But that's not the important part--I've gotten embroiled in endless arguments about whether it's actually flip cup, tip cup, tip the cup, tippy cup, flippy cup, or some other ridiculous variation.

    December 25, 2012

  • Oooh, I hadn't thought about the tall angle. Hmmm. I wouldn't discount it out of hand, although the writer is an Australian and the term longneck would probably be used for large bottles and schooner, middy, pot, etc. for a tall glass. More hmmm.

    I find your second comment rather flippant. Tippant. Ummm...

    December 25, 2012

  • Aren't Australians fond of adding that 'ee' sound to the ends of words? Throw another bilby on the barbie, etc.? I'd swear there was a list around here... oh, wait... here it is: aussie-ie-ee-y-ey.

    December 25, 2012

  • a stick used to knoch the acumulation of a transaction " the tally "

    latin " talea " = stick

    August 26, 2013