Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tall adj.

1. in senses of speech.

(a) [mid-16C–19C] boastful, high-flown.

(b) [mid-19C] intense, melodramatic.

(c) [mid-19C+] extravagant, untrue; esp. in phr. tall story

2. [mid-19C] of dress or appearance, flashy; also as adv.

3. in senses of quantity, measure.

(a) [mid-19C] (UK Und.) well-supplied.

(b) [mid-19C] (UK Und.) many, numerous.

(c) [mid-19C+] (orig. US) large, esp. in quantity, e.g. of money; also in phr. tall order under order n.

(d) [mid-19C+] serious, substantial; usu. in comb. with a v., such as tall drinking or tall weeping.

4. [mid-19C+] (orig. US) excellent in quality; thus tallest, the best.

5. in senses of intoxication [play on high adj.1 (1)].

(a) [mid-19C+] (orig. UK Und.) drunk [20C+ use of is US black].

(b) [1930s–60s] (US drugs) intoxicated by marijuana.

In compounds

tall money (n.)

[1940s+] (US black) a large amount of money, substantial wealth.

tall story (n.) (also tall tale)

[mid-19C+] an extravagant, boastful story, a lie.

tall talk (n.) (also tall talking)

[mid-19C+] (orig. US) boasting, bragging, the telling of far-fetched stories and anecdotes; thus talk tall v.

tall talker (n.)

[mid–late 19C] a braggart, a boaster.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

tall boy (n.)

1. [late 17C–early 19C] (also tallen) a large wine glass.

2. [late 17C–early 19C] a 3-litre (2-quart) pot filled with wine.

3. [1970s+] (US) a tall glass or can of beer.

tall poppy (n.)

[1930s+] (Aus./N.Z.) a conspicuously high earner or other VIP; thus tall poppy syndrome, the desire of the less successful to bring an outstanding individual back ‘down to earth’.

tall timber (n.)

see separate entry.

tall ’un (n.)

[late 19C–1900s] a pint of coffee.