noun, plural tal·lies.

  1. an account or reckoning; a record of debit and credit, of the score of a game, or the like.
  2. Also called tally stick. a stick of wood with notches cut to indicate the amount of a debt or payment, often split lengthwise across the notches, the debtor retaining one piece and the creditor the other.
  3. anything on which a score or account is kept.
  4. a notch or mark made on or in a tally.
  5. a number or group of items recorded.
  6. a mark made to register a certain number of items, as four consecutive vertical lines with a diagonal line through them to indicate a group of five.
  7. a number of objects serving as a unit of computation.
  8. a ticket, label, or mark used as a means of identification, classification, etc.
  9. anything corresponding to another thing as a counterpart or duplicate.

verb (used with object), tal·lied, tal·ly·ing.

  1. to mark or enter on a tally; register; record.
  2. to count or reckon up.
  3. to furnish with a tally or identifying label.
  4. to cause to correspond or agree.

verb (used without object), tal·lied, tal·ly·ing.

  1. to correspond, as one part of a tally with the other; accord or agree: Does his story tally with hers?
  2. to score a point or make a goal, as in a game.

verb -lies, -lying or -lied

  1. (intr) to correspond one with the otherthe two stories don’t tally
  2. (tr) to supply with an identifying tag
  3. (intr) to keep score
  4. (tr) obsolete to record or mark

noun plural -lies

  1. any record of debit, credit, the score in a game, etc
  2. a ticket, label, or mark, used as a means of identification, classification, etc
  3. a counterpart or duplicate of something, such as the counterfoil of a cheque
  4. a stick used (esp formerly) as a record of the amount of a debt according to the notches cut in it
  5. a notch or mark cut in or made on such a stick
  6. a mark or number of marks used to represent a certain number in counting
  7. Australian and NZ the total number of sheep shorn by one shearer in a specified period of time

mid-15c., “stick marked with notches to indicate amount owed or paid,” from Anglo-French tallie (early 14c.), Anglo-Latin talea (late 12c.), from Medieval Latin tallia, from Latin talea “a cutting, rod, stick” (see tailor, and cf. sense history of score). Meaning “a thing that matches another” first recorded 1650s, said to be from practice of splitting a tally lengthwise, debtor and creditor each retaining one of the halves. Sports sense of “a total score” is from 1856.


mid-15c., from Medieval Latin talliare “to tax,” from tallia (see tally (n.)). Related: Tallied; tallying.

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