1. A recital of events or happenings; a report or revelation: told us a long tale of woe.
2. A malicious story, piece of gossip, or petty complaint.
3. A deliberate lie; a falsehood.
4. A narrative of real or imaginary events; a story.
5. Archaic A tally or reckoning; a total.
[Middle English, from Old English talu; see del-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.