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Etymology 1[edit]



tally (comparative more tally, superlative most tally)

  1. (UK) Used as a mild intensifier: very (almost exclusively used by the upper classes).
    Up and over to victory! Tally ho!

Etymology 2[edit]

Perhaps a derivative of Old English talu with a diminutive suffix. Compare German Zahl.


tally (plural tallies)

  1. Originally, a piece of wood on which notches or scores were cut, as the marks of number;
  2. Later, one of two books, sheets of paper, etc., on which corresponding accounts were kept.
  3. Hence, any account or score kept by notches or marks, whether on wood or paper, or in a book, especially one kept in duplicate.
    • 2011 September 2, Phil McNulty, “Bulgaria 0-3 England”, BBC:
      Bulgaria, inevitably, raised the tempo in the opening moments of the second half and keeper Joe Hart was forced into his first meaningful action to block a deflected corner - but England were soon threatening to add to their goal tally.
  4. One thing made to suit another; a match; a mate.
    • Dryden
      They were framed the tallies for each other.
  5. A notch, mark, or score made on or in a tally; as, to make or earn a score or tally in a game.
  6. A tally shop.


tally (third-person singular simple present tallies, present participle tallying, simple past and past participle tallied)

  1. (transitive) To count something.
  2. (transitive) To record something by making marks.
  3. (transitive) To make things correspond or agree with each other.
    • Alexander Pope
      They are not so well tallied to the present juncture.
  4. (intransitive) To keep score.
  5. (intransitive) To correspond or agree.
    • Addison
      I found pieces of tiles that exactly tallied with the channel.
    • Walpole
      Your idea [] tallies exactly with mine.
  6. (nautical) To check off, as parcels of freight going inboard or outboard.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of W. C. Russell to this entry?)

Etymology 3[edit]

tall +‎ -ly


tally (comparative more tally, superlative most tally)

  1. (obsolete) In a tall way; stoutly; with spirit.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Beaumont and Fletcher to this entry?)