Hypertext Webster Gateway: "tall"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Tall \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.

3. Fine; splendid; excellent; also, extravagant; excessive.
[Obs. or Slang] --B. Jonson.

Syn: High; lofty.

Usage: {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.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: great in vertical dimension; high in stature; "tall people";
"tall buildings"; "tall trees"; "tall ships" [ant: {short}]
2: lofty in style; "he engages in so much tall talk, one never
really realizes what he is saying" [syn: {grandiloquent},
3: (informal) impressively difficult; "a tall order" [syn: {tall(a)}]
4: too improbable to admit of belief; "a tall story" [syn: {improbable},
{marvelous}, {marvellous}, {tall(a)}]

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