1. That which is told; an oral relation or recital; any rehearsal of what has occured; narrative; discourse; statement; history; story. The tale of troy divine. . In such manner rime is Dante’s tale. . We spend our years as a tale that is told. (Ps. Xc. 9)
2. A number told or counted off; a reckoning by count; an enumeration; a count, in distinction from measure or weight; a number reckoned or stated. The ignorant, . . . Who measure by tale, and not by weight. (hooker) And every shepherd tells his tale, under the hawthornn in the dale. (milton) In packing, they keep a just tale of the number. (Carew)
3. A count or declaration. To tell tale of, to make account of. Therefore little tale hath he told Of any dream, so holy was his heart. (Chaucer)
Synonym: anecdote, story, fable, incident, memoir, relation, account, legend, narrative.
Origin: AS. Talu number, speech, narrative; akin to D. Taal speech, language, G. Zahl number, OHG. Zala, Icel. Tal, tala, number, speech, Sw. Tal, Dan. Tal number, tale speech, Goth. Talzjan to instruct. Cf. Tell, Toll a tax, also Talk.