tall tale

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tall tale

A greatly exaggerated or particularly imaginative story or account of something, such that it is difficult to believe. My uncle has always been fond of telling tall tales about his time overseas. I used to believe him when I was a kid, but now I've learned to just laugh along.
See also: tale, tall
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

tall tale

A fanciful or greatly exaggerated story, as in Some youngsters love tall tales about creatures from outer space coming to earth. This idiom uses tall in the sense of "exaggerated." [Mid-1800s]
See also: tale, tall
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a tall tale


a tall story

COMMON A tall tale or a tall story is a very exciting or extreme event that someone tells you about but that you think is probably not true. He was very convincing, and some of his college chums believed his tall tales. `She told my guests a tall story about our relationship,' he said. `She claimed we'd been in love three years.' Note: `Tall' used to be used to describe language that was considered extremely formal or exaggerated.
See also: tale, tall
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
It can only happen in the fantasy world of tall tales. This genre is characterized by fictional, often intentionally ridiculous, stories that provide a reason for or origin of a natural phenomenon.
Tall tales are fun, but they shouldn't get in the way of the facts, says Cathy Gorn, executive director of National History Day, a national history fair, and an adjunct professor of American history at the University of Maryland.
Mountain Men True Grit and Tall Tales by Andrew Glass Random House, Inc.
TALL TALE: Once had larger-than-life Spice Girl draped on a private Paris bus.
"While You Were Napping" is a toddler's tall tale of the tallest variety, with pirates, robots, firemen, construction workers, cotton candy, dinosaur bones, and french fry sandwiches to entertain the outrageous imagination of a youngster who was unwillingly put to bed for a nap (just because he was screaming, imagine that).
Kellogg compresses several of the yarns spun around America's archetypal tall tale hero into this exuberant picture book portrait.
Storyteller Joe Hayes weaves a tall tale that will amuse readers of all ages.
He introduces these tales with an outlandish claim: "The truth is that golems are real, they are out there now, and they are everywhere." At the same time, he punctuates his story with insistent references to lies, liars, and lying, culminating in his final words: "And, naturally, I'm still telling lies." In other words, Chabon's talk exhibits all the hallmarks of a tall tale, with the author signaling to the audience at every turn that the narrator is not to be completely trusted.
Mexican folk stories don't just tell a tall tale: they include a healthy dose of Mexican culture and insight in the process.
Amateur rider Larry McGrath picked up a ten-day ban for intentionally causing interference on Tall Tale, who was found to have interfered with Donnegale on the
"My Pet Rattlesnake" is an illustrated tall tale from the Southwest that takes some getting used to, but ends with a giant chortle.
Wry humour is very much part of this tall tale when Milky the Cow gets stuck in the muck and, despite all good intentions, interventions and all known technologies fail, it is Milky's own actions that save the day.
Nigel is intrigued by Finn's tall tale and they join an expedition to raise the shipwrecked Aurelia.
A tall tale about real people: Red Liz (Queen Elizabeth I) captures pirate Granny O'Malley's son, and Granny goes to London to rescue him in a sparkling scene of manners and mores.
Another long-shot worth noting at the meeting is the John Wade-trained Tall Tale in the Jayne Thompson Memorial Novices' Chase (4.00).