Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of tale
Meaning of tale by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • IPA: /ˈteɪl/
    • Rhymes: -eɪl
    • Homophone: tail

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English, from Old English talu ( “tale, series, calculation, list, statement, deposition, relation, communication, narrative, fable, story, accusation, action at law” ), from Proto-Germanic *talō ( “calculation, number” ), from Proto-Indo-European *del- ( “to reckon, count” ). Cognate with Dutch taal ( “language, speech” ), German Zahl ( “number, figure” ), Danish tale ( “speech” ), Icelandic tala ( “speech, talk, discourse, number, figure” ), Latin dolus ( “guile, deceit, fraud” ), Ancient Greek ( dólos, “wile, bait” ), Albanian dalloj ( “I tell, distinguish” ), Old Armenian տող ( toł, “row” ). Related to tell, talk .


    tale ( plural: tales )

    1. ( obsolete ) Number .
    2. ( obsolete ) Account; estimation; regard; heed .
    3. ( obsolete ) Speech; language .
    4. ( obsolete ) A speech; a statement; talk; conversation; discourse .
    5. ( law, obsolete ) A count; declaration .
    6. ( rare or archaic ) Numbering; enumeration; reckoning; account; count .
      Both number twice a day the milky dams; And once she takes the tale of all the lambs. ― Dryden .
    7. ( rare or archaic ) A number of things considered as an aggregate; sum .
    8. ( rare or archaic ) A report of any matter; a relation; a version .
    9. 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!
    10. a type of story .
      the Canterbury Tales
    11. A number told or counted off; a reckoning by count; an enumeration.
    12. ( slang ) The fraudulent opportunity presented by a confidence man to the mark ( sense 3.3 ) of a confidence game
    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    From Middle English talen, from Old English talian ( “to count, calculate, reckon, account, consider, think, esteem, value, argue, tell, relate, impute, assign” ), from Proto-Germanic *talōnan ( “to count” ), from Proto-Indo-European *del- ( “to count, reckon, aim, calculate, adjust” ). Cognate with German zählen ( “to count, number, reckon” ), Swedish tala ( “to speak, talk” ), Icelandic tala ( “to talk” ) .


    tale ( third-person singular simple present tales present participle taling, simple 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 .


    • et al., ETLA, late, leat, tael, teal, tela

Explanation of tale by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. a trivial lie

    2. a message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events

    Definition of tale by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Tael n. [Malay taĭl, a certain weight, probably fr. Hind. tola, Skr. tulā a balance, weight, tul to weigh.] A denomination of money, in China, worth nearly six shillings sterling, or about a dollar and forty cents; also, a weight of one ounce and a third. [Written also tale.]

    2. Tale ( tāl ), n. See Tael.

    3. Tale, n. [AS. talu number, speech, narrative; akin to D. taal speech, language, G. zahl number, OHG. zala, Icel. tal, tala, number, speech, Sw. tal, Dan. tal number, tale speech, Goth. talzjan to instruct. Cf. Tell, v. t., Toll a tax, also Talk, v. i.]
      1. That which is told; an oral relation or recital; any rehearsal of what has occured; narrative; discourse; statement; history; story. “The tale of Troy divine.” Milton. “In such manner rime is Dante's tale.” Chaucer.

      We spend our years as a tale that is told. Ps. xc. 9.

      2. A number told or counted off; a reckoning by count; an enumeration; a count, in distinction from measure or weight; a number reckoned or stated.

      The ignorant, . . . who measure by tale, and not by weight. Hooker.

      And every shepherd tells his tale,

      Under the hawthorn in the dale. Milton.

      In packing, they keep a just tale of the number. Carew.

      3. ( Law ) A count or declaration. [Obs.]

      To tell tale of, to make account of. [Obs.]

      Therefore little tale hath he told

      Of any dream, so holy was his heart. Chaucer.

      Syn. -- Anecdote; story; fable; incident; memoir; relation; account; legend; narrative.

    4. Tale ( tāl ), v. i. To tell stories. [Obs.] Chaucer. Gower.