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Line breaks: tale
Pronunciation: /teɪl

Definition of tale in English:


1A fictitious or true narrative or story, especially one that is imaginatively recounted: a delightful children’s tale tales of witches and warlocks she enjoyed hearing others tell their tales
More example sentences
  • Mary and Tom Coogan's story is an inspirational tale of a true and deep love that conquered tragedy.
  • Chloe of the Midnight Storytellers will amuse the guests by recounting tales from myth and legend, as well as adaptations of literary short stories.
  • Although the author offers up many intriguing story ingredients and historical tales, she lacks a central driving narrative.
story, short story, narrative, anecdote, report, account, record, history;
legend, fable, myth, romance, parable, allegory, epic, saga
informal yarn
rumour, gossip, hearsay, slander, talk, allegation, tittle-tattle, libel, story
1.1A lie.
Example sentences
  • It was thought that children could not possibly fabricate such tales.
  • Slanderous tales about winners are fabricated by losers.
  • He even published dozens of fabricated tales, often using pseudonyms.
2 archaic A number or total: an exact tale of the dead bodies
More example sentences
  • Though, forsooth, little matter was it to any man there whether Turk or Magyar was their over-lord, since to one master or another they had to pay the due tale of labouring days in the year, and hard was the livelihood that they earned for themselves on the days when they worked for themselves and their wives and children.
  • These great and strong lords and knights have come to see what work a man may do without dying: if we are to have yet more days added to our year's tale of lords' labour, then are we lost without remedy.


Old English talu 'telling, something told', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch taal 'speech' and German Zahl 'number', also to tell1. sense 2 is probably from Old Norse.


a tale of a tub

archaic An apocryphal story.

tell tales

Gossip about or reveal another person’s secrets or wrongdoings: she sparked a family row after telling tales about her mother on a TV show
More example sentences
  • Indeed, people love to gossip and to tell tales.
  • Robert and Kitty are deputizing Isaac to sling some mud at the man telling tales on Robert, and stop the story from spreading.

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