Definition of tall in US English:



  • 1Of great or more than average height, especially (with reference to an object) relative to width.

    ‘a tall, broad-shouldered man’
    ‘a tall glass of iced tea’
    • ‘Nearby will be a tall transparent wall of glass sited in a reflecting pool and illuminated with blue light.’
    • ‘There was no one there, except for a tall figure standing by in the distance.’
    • ‘Apart from Damian, there is no one I would not trust to hold the bottom of a tall ladder or to own a weapon.’
    • ‘The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open, revealing the sixth floor of the tall building.’
    • ‘Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?’
    • ‘Pour the Pimm's into a tall glass and add the lemon, cucumber and strawberries.’
    • ‘Avoid any mixture containing bentgrass or tall fescue or more than 15 percent ryegrass.’
    • ‘Mychael found herself in a tall tower - one of many in the castle.’
    • ‘With no tall buildings nearby to obstruct your sight, you can see for miles around.’
    • ‘The area consists of luxuriant growth of tall grasses with scattered growth of deciduous forest trees.’
    • ‘He stood up to offer a handshake, revealing that he was a tall man, of average but sufficient build.’
    • ‘He saw a tall willow tree, and decided to rest in its shade.’
    • ‘The bar, just big enough for four or five people, was in a tall, thin building at the top of a narrow staircase.’
    • ‘Add the juice of an orange if you like and serve in tall glasses with ice cubes.’
    • ‘He looked like he needed a nap and a tall glass of ice water, but that would have to wait.’
    • ‘The grass was tall enough to hide a horse and waved in the breeze like a wind-roiled sea.’
    • ‘Climbing to the top of a tall building, a hill, or a church tower is a great way to get a feel for a place.’
    • ‘They all looked to see a tall pillar of smoke rising in the not-too distant distance.’
    • ‘In his right hand was a plate of food and in the other a tall glass of orange juice.’
    • ‘Water will trickle audibly here and there, and there'll be the gentle swish of bamboo and tall grasses.’
    big, high, large, huge, towering
    high, big, lofty, towering, soaring, elevated, sky-high, sky-scraping
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    1. 1.1 (after a measurement and in questions) measuring a specified distance from top to bottom.
      ‘he was over six feet tall’
      ‘how tall are you?’
      • ‘A tribe of pygmies from the Grasslands of Africa, the Fukawi grow to a height of 4 feet tall.’
      • ‘He is described as about 6ft tall, medium to thin build, with black and shaven hair.’
      • ‘She is white, 5ft 4in tall with a large build, short grey hair and blue eyes.’
      • ‘The other one was a couple of inches taller with dark hair.’
      • ‘They were not as short as I would have thought, around 1.2 meters tall.’
      • ‘He is about 1.5 metres tall with big brown eyes and curly jet-black hair.’
      • ‘Only around ten centimeters taller than him, the older kid looked fairly nasty.’
      • ‘He seemed to be pretty tall for his age, probably around 5 ' 9".’
      • ‘He was six feet tall with a lean build and wavy blonde hair.’
      • ‘They stand about two feet tall at the shoulder and typically weigh around 100 pounds.’
      • ‘The 4ft 5in tall boy was disqualified from driving following a motoring offence in December last year.’
      • ‘He says you must stand back and look at the tree from a distance to get an idea how tall it is.’
      • ‘In 1999 we constructed a small prototype of this clock, approximately two meters tall.’
      • ‘One of the youths is described as about 6ft tall with ginger hair and wearing a light blue top.’
      • ‘The steel glasses were 3 feet tall and you wonder how all of it fit into one person.’
      • ‘The warm water felt good, and waves were up to two meters tall.’
      • ‘The third is described as six feet tall, in his mid-twenties with short dark hair and possibly a moustache.’
      • ‘Heather is approximately 4ft 6in tall with a slim build, hazel eyes and long brown hair.’
      • ‘At the age of seventeen, he was already almost two hundred centimeters tall.’
      • ‘Individuals may be 1-1.4 m tall at the shoulders.’
      in height, high, from head to foot, from head to toe
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    2. 1.2as adverb Used in reference to proud and confident movement or behavior.
      ‘stop wishing that you were somehow different—start to walk tall!’
      • ‘The man who started his working life as a teacher before joining Bobby Robson's staff at Porto and Barcelona as, first interpreter, then coach, now stands tall, and characteristically proud, as one of the best in the business.’
      • ‘She had a look of sheer determination in her eyes, and stood tall and proud, unsmiling.’
      • ‘How are you supposed to be confident and walk tall if you are too tired to even hold your eyelids open?’
      • ‘Two men joined him, wiping their foreheads, but still standing tall and proud under their heavy layered uniforms.’
      • ‘Madala was dressed in the full regalia of a captain, and walked tall and proud, hand on her sword hilt, and the other gripping her pike.’
      • ‘He stood tall and confident, a smile radiating through his features and hair unkempt but it suited him.’
      • ‘He stood tall and proud, he had definitely seen his fair share of action.’
      • ‘His walk was different too; not too obvious to a glance, but Tommy walked tall and proud; like a man who was not a prisoner but one who had everything under control.’
      • ‘Yet, if he survives the challenges at hand, his political stature will be increased dramatically, and he'll be able to walk tall, proud of his achievements.’
      • ‘Abe, Bart, and Cody stood tall and proud as they dared the Governor or Milton to stared yelling at them.’
  • 2informal attributive (of an account) fanciful and difficult to believe; unlikely.

    ‘sometimes it's hard to tell a legend from a tall tale’
    • ‘Throughout the film, the commodore repeats a tall tale about his exploits as an Indian fighter.’
    • ‘He could make you hear his sly smile, he could make you cry at a sad story, he could make you believe a tall tale.’
    • ‘The story, with the structure of a tall tale and the scenery of historical horror, does not give a moral or a resolution.’
    • ‘The old sailors, diggers and airmen treated the younger generation to a few yarns and perhaps a tall tale or two, with their mates alongside recalling the same events as if they were yesterday.’
    • ‘We argued whether Grandpa Cody's stories about him being a knight back in the old days was true or was a tall tale.’
    • ‘When it comes to flamethrowers, after all, it's hard to figure out what's the truth and what's a tall tale.’
    • ‘Assuming this is a tall tale made up to lend an air of mystery to an otherwise innocuous eBay sale it is still a clever bit of advertising.’
    • ‘That's a tall tale - with no foundation in reality!’
    • ‘I can't find any info, is this just a tall tale or is it true?’
    • ‘O'Reilly claimed his story was a compilation of tall tales told by real cowboys, but this seems itself a tall tale: oral historians are unconvinced that Pecos Bill is anything but a media creation.’
    • ‘It may sound like a tall tale but a Keighley museum has come to the rescue after an Isle of Man exhibition was unable to find any stuffed Manx cats to display - despite the cats originating on the island several hundred years ago.’
    unlikely, improbable, exaggerated, far-fetched, implausible, dubious, overblown, unbelievable, incredible, preposterous, outrageous, absurd
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  • a tall order

    • An unreasonable or difficult demand.

      • ‘It needs a 4% per month hike in freight traffic to start making money and that's a tall order.’
      • ‘Flowing football was always going to be a tall order on a heavy Home Park pitch that was still being sanded right up to kick-off.’
      • ‘It's a bit of a tall order to offer a fully formed alternative view of the world, but we can at least throw up some positive ideas for discussion.’
      • ‘While you may be able to manage for three to six months without a specific employee, one or two years is invariably a tall order.’
      • ‘Making a decent sequel was always going to be a tall order.’
      • ‘It's a tall order, but one of the most straightforward and effective ways to achieve that goal is through education.’
      • ‘The title sounds like a tall order, particularly coming from someone who has never made a country album.’
      • ‘Making the step-up to inter-county football after an absence of two years is a tall order.’
      • ‘Keeping on top of the washing-up without a dishwasher is a tall order, says manager Sue Hargreaves.’
      • ‘It's a tall order, but no one could accuse Williams of not trying.’
      demanding, exacting, difficult, unreasonable, exorbitant, impossible
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Late Middle English: probably from Old English getæl ‘swift, prompt’. Early senses also included ‘fine, handsome’ and ‘bold, strong, good at fighting’.