Tall (?), a. [Compar. Taller (?); superl. Tallest.] [OE. tal seemly, elegant, docile (?); of uncertain origin; cf. AS. un-tala, un-tale, bad, Goth. untals indocile, disobedient, uninstructed, or W. & Corn. tal high, Ir. talla meet, fit, proper, just.]

1.

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; as, a tall person, tree, or mast.

Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall. Milton.

2.

Brave; bold; courageous.

[Obs.]

As tall a trencherman As e'er demolished a pye fortification. Massinger.

His companions, being almost in despair of victory, were suddenly recomforted by Sir William Stanley, which came to succors with three thousand tall men. Grafton.

3.

Fine; splendid; excellent; also, extravagant; excessive.

[Obs. or Slang]

B. Jonson.

Syn. -- High; lofty. -- Tall, High, Lofty. High is the generic term, and is applied to anything which is elevated or raised above another thing. Tall specifically describes that which has a small diameter in proportion to its height; hence, we speak of a tall man, a tall steeple, a tall mast, etc., but not of a tall hill. Lofty has a special reference to the expanse above us, and denotes an imposing height; as, a lofty mountain; a lofty room. Tall is now properly applied only to physical objects; high and lofty have a moral acceptation; as, high thought, purpose, etc.; lofty aspirations; a lofty genius. Lofty is the stronger word, and is usually coupled with the grand or admirable.

 

© Webster 1913.

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