Definitions

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

  • adjective Having greater than ordinary height.
  • adjective Having considerable height, especially in relation to width; lofty.
  • adjective Having a specified height.
  • adjective Informal Fanciful or exaggerated; boastful.
  • adjective Impressively great or difficult.
  • adjective Obsolete Excellent; fine.
  • adverb With proud bearing; straight.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Seemly; suitable; fitting; becoming; comely.
  • Obsequious; obedient.
  • Fine; proper; admirable; great; excellent.
  • Bold; brave; courageous; valiant.
  • High in proportion to breadth or diameter; lofty; having a relatively great stature.
  • Having a particular height; measuring in stature (as specified): as, a man six feet tall.
  • Long: used absolutely, or as noting length in a scale of measurement: as, a tall copy (of a book).
  • Great; extraordinary; remarkable; extravagant: as, tall talk; a tall fight.
  • Synonyms and High, Tall, Lofty. High is the most general of these words, and has some uses different from those of the others. When we say that a cloud is high, we may mean that it extends very far upward, or, more probably, that it is unusually far above the earth. Tall describes that which is slim in proportion to its height, as a mast, a pine or other tree, a steeple, a person, possibly a cliff: tall houses may be found in some parts of the world; a tall cloud would be of small width and great comparative height. Tall is also associated with height to which we are used or which we have come to regard as standard. A giant is tall, because so much taller than most men. Lofty denotes an imposing height: a room cannot well be tall, but may be high, or even lofty: as, the lofty arches of Westminster Hall. High and lofty may have application to moral or intellectual character; tall has not, except colloquially. Tall seems somewhat figurative when applied to that which does not live and grow.

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

  • adjective High in stature; having a considerable, or an unusual, extension upward; long and comparatively slender; having the diameter or lateral extent small in proportion to the height.
  • adjective obsolete Brave; bold; courageous.
  • adjective Obs. or Slang Fine; splendid; excellent; also, extravagant; excessive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective obsolete obsequious; obedient
  • adjective obsolete seemly; suitable; fitting, becoming, comely; attractive, handsome
  • adjective obsolete bold; brave; courageous; valiant
  • adjective archaic fine; proper; admirable; great; excellent; being of more than average height
  • adjective of a person Having a vertical extent greater than the average. For example, somebody with a height of over 6 feet would generally be considered to be tall
  • adjective of a building, etc. Having its top a long way up; having a great vertical (and often greater than horizontal) extent; high
  • adjective of a story Hard to believe, such as a tall story or a tall tale
  • adjective of a cup of coffee A cup of coffee smaller than grande, usually 8 ounces

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective too improbable to admit of belief
  • adjective lofty in style
  • noun a garment size for a tall person
  • adjective great in vertical dimension; high in stature
  • adjective impressively difficult

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, brave, quick, from Old English getæl, swift; see del- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tall, talle, tal ("seemly, becoming, excellent, good, valiant, bold, great"), from Old English *tæl, ġetæl ("swift, ready, having mastery of"), from Proto-Germanic *talaz (“submissive, pliable”), from Proto-Indo-European *dol-, *del- (“to aim, calculate, adjust, reckon”). Cognate with Scots tal ("high, lofty, tall"), Old Frisian tel ("swift"), Old Saxon gital ("quick"), Old High German gizal ("active, agile"), Gothic 𐌿𐌽𐍄𐌰𐌻𐍃 (untals, "indocile, disobedient").

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