Pronunciation Noun

tale (plural tales)

  1. An account of an asserted fact or circumstance; a rumour; a report, especially an idle or malicious story; a piece of gossip or slander; a lie.
    Don't tell tales!
  2. A rehearsal of what has occurred; narrative; discourse; statement; history; story.
    the Canterbury Tales
    • 1631, John Milton, "L'Allegro":
      And every shepherd tells his tale
      Under the hawthorn in the dale.
  3. A number told or counted off; a reckoning by count; an enumeration.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Book I, Preface, §4:
      the ignorant, […] who measure by tale, and not by weight
    • 1602, Richard Carew (antiquary), Survey of Cornwall
      In packing, they keep a just tale of the number that every hogshead containeth ...
    • 1843 Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. 5, Twelfth Century
      They proceeded with some rigour, these Custodiars; took written inventories, clapt-on seals, exacted everywhere strict tale and measure
  4. (slang) The fraudulent opportunity presented by a confidence man to the mark or victim.
  5. (obsolete) Number; tally; quota.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 5:8:
      And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God.
    • 1697, John Dryden, The Works of Virgil, Pastoral III:
      Both number twice a day the milky dams
      And once she takes the tale of all the lambs.
  6. (obsolete) Account; estimation; regard; heed.
  7. (obsolete) Speech; language.
  8. (obsolete) A speech; a statement; talk; conversation; discourse.
  9. (legal, obsolete) A count; declaration.
  10. (rare or archaic) A number of things considered as an aggregate; sum.
  11. (rare or archaic) A report of any matter; a relation; a version.
    • 1605, Francis Bacon, Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human, Volume I, Chapter IX:
      […] birds […] are aptest by their voice to tell tales what they find; and likewise by the motion of their flight to express the same.
Translations Verb

tale (tales, present participle taling; past and past participle taled)

  1. (dialectal or obsolete) To speak; discourse; tell tales.
  2. (dialectal, chiefly, Scotland) To reckon; consider (someone) to have something.

tale (plural tales)

  1. Alternative form of tael

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