Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tale n.1

1. [20C+] any form of words designed to ensnare the listener for commercial purposes, e.g. the story told by a confidence trickster to ensnare the victim.

2. [20C+] a womanizer’s ‘line’.

3. [1940s] (UK Und.) a specific con where someone is persuaded to pay the con-man, who is posing as a bookmaker, for a lost bet that he did not ask to be made.

In compounds

tale-pitcher (n.) [thus the popular nickname of the racing journalist, raconteur and bon viveur Arthur Binstead (1861–1914), ‘The Pitcher’, best known to the readers of the Sporting Times]

1. [late 19C–1900s] one who tells a good story, a romantic.

2. a confidence trickster who ‘tells the tale’.

tale-teller (n.)

[1900s-40s] (orig. Aus.) a confidence trickster; a fraudulent racecourse tipster.

In phrases

ain’t got no tale (v.)

[1940s] (US black campus) to feel bad.

cop the tale (v.)

[20C+] to be fooled by a confidence trickster.

on the tale

[1900s] (Aus.) working as a confidence trickster.

pitch a tale (v.)

to tell a story.

tell the tale (v.) [ext. use of SE] [20C+]

1. to deceive, to hoax, to cheat through verbal dexterity.

2. to engage in amorous talk.

3. to tell any kind of unbelievable or pathetic story.

what’s your tale? (also ...jive?, ...lick?) [SE tale/jive n.1 (3)/lick n.2 (8)]

[1940s] (US black campus) a greeting, how are you?