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

  • intransitive verb To sound (a large bell) slowly at regular intervals.
  • intransitive verb To announce or summon by tolling.
  • intransitive verb To sound in slowly repeated single tones.
  • noun The act of tolling.
  • noun The sound of a bell being struck.
  • noun A fixed charge or tax for a privilege, especially for passage across a bridge or along a road.
  • noun A charge for a service, such as a telephone call to another country.
  • noun An amount or extent of loss or destruction, as of life, health, or property.
  • transitive verb To exact as a toll.
  • transitive verb To charge a fee for using (a structure, such as a bridge).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cause (a bell) to sound with single strokes slowly and regularly repeated, as for summoning public bodies or religious congregations to their meetings, for announcing a death, or to give solemnity to a funeral; specifically, to ring (a bell) by striking it with a hammer without swinging.
  • To give out or utter by tolling or striking, as the sound of a bell or a clock.
  • To call attention to or give notice of by slowly measured sounds of a bell; ring for or on account of.
  • To give out the slowly measured sounds of a bell when struck singly and at regular intervals, as in calling meetings, or at funerals, or to announce the death of a person.
  • noun A tax paid, or duty imposed, for some use or privilege or other reasonable consideration.
  • noun The payment claimed by the owners of a port for goods landed or shipped there.
  • noun The sum charged by the owners of a market or fair for goods brought to be sold there, or for liberty to break the soil for the purpose of erecting temporary structures.
  • noun A portion of grain retained by a miller as compensation for grinding.
  • noun A fixed charge made by those concerned in the maintenance of roads, streets, bridges, etc., for the passage, as at a toll-gate, of persons, goods, and cattle.
  • noun A compensation for services rendered, especially for transportation or transmission: as, canal tolls, railway tolls, and other charges have raised the price of wheat.
  • noun Synonyms Duty, Tribute, etc. See tax.
  • To draw; pull; tug; drag.
  • To tear in pieces.
  • To draw; invite; entice; allure.
  • To pay toll or tailage, as on a purchase.
  • To take toll; exact or levy toll; especially, to take a portion of grain as compensation for grinding.
  • To take as a part of a general contribution or tax; exact as a tribute.
  • noun The sounding of a bell with slowly measured single strokes.
  • In law, to take away; vacate; annul.

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

  • noun A tax paid for some liberty or privilege, particularly for the privilege of passing over a bridge or on a highway, or for that of vending goods in a fair, market, or the like.
  • noun (Sax. & O. Eng. Law) A liberty to buy and sell within the bounds of a manor.
  • noun A portion of grain taken by a miller as a compensation for grinding.
  • noun (O. Eng. Law) the privilege of having a market, and jurisdiction of villeins.
  • noun a bar or beam used on a canal for stopping boats at the tollhouse, or on a road for stopping passengers.
  • noun a bridge where toll is paid for passing over it.
  • noun corn taken as pay for grinding at a mill.
  • noun a dish for measuring toll in mills.
  • noun a man who takes, or gathers, toll.
  • noun [Obs.] a toll dish.
  • noun (Eng. Law) toll taken by a town for beasts driven through it, or over a bridge or ferry maintained at its cost.
  • noun (Eng. Law) toll taken by an individual for beasts driven across his ground; toll paid by a person for passing over the private ground, bridge, ferry, or the like, of another.
  • noun (Eng. Law) a toll paid at the return of beasts from market, though they were not sold.
  • transitive verb To collect, as a toll.
  • intransitive verb To sound or ring, as a bell, with strokes uniformly repeated at intervals, as at funerals, or in calling assemblies, or to announce the death of a person.
  • transitive verb (O. Eng. Law) To take away; to vacate; to annul.
  • intransitive verb rare To pay toll or tallage.
  • intransitive verb rare To take toll; to raise a tax.
  • transitive verb To draw; to entice; to allure. See tole.
  • transitive verb To cause to sound, as a bell, with strokes slowly and uniformly repeated.
  • transitive verb To strike, or to indicate by striking, as the hour; to ring a toll for.


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

[Middle English tollen, to ring an alarm, perhaps from tollen, to entice, pull, variant of tillen, from Old English -tyllan.]

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

[Middle English tol, from Old English, variant of toln, from Medieval Latin tolōnīum, from Latin telōnēum, tollbooth, from Greek telōneion, from telōnēs, tax collector, from telos, tax; see telə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tol, tolle, from Old English tol, toll, toln ("toll, duty, custom"), from Proto-Germanic *tullō (“what is counted or told”), from Proto-Indo-European *dol- (“calculation, fraud”). Cognate with Dutch tol ("toll"), German Zoll ("toll, duty, customs"), Danish told ("toll, duty, tariff"), Swedish tull ("toll, customs"), Icelandic tollur ("toll"), Latin dolus ("trick, deception"). More at tell, tale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin tollere

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably the same as Etymology 3. Possibly related to or influenced by toil

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English tolen, tollen, variation of tullen, tillen ("to draw, allure, entice"), from Old English *tyllan, *tillan ("to pull, draw, attract") (found in compounds fortyllan ("to seduce, lead astray, draw away from the mark, deceive") and betyllan, betillan ("to lure, decoy")), related to Old Frisian tilla ("to lift, raise"), Dutch tillen ("to lift, raise, weigh, buy"), Low German tillen ("to lift, remove"), Swedish dialectal tille ("to take up, appropriate").


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  • He had aged a lot since I saw him last. My mother's suicide and his two heart attacks had taken their toll.

    --Maus Book 1: My Father Bleeds History

    March 11, 2018