Tall Definition 1

Tall GiraffeThe point of this article is to come up with a tall definition, or at least possible tall definitions. If you Google the word “tall”, you get over two billion results. It’s a popular word, to say the least. But how do you define tall?

Most tall definitions found in dictionaries suggest a meaning somewhere along the lines of, “greater than average height”. When used in reference to humans, it becomes greater than average stature. This is a really vague tall definition; with it, half the population can be considered tall.

Another tall definition could perhaps be drawn from guidelines for tall organizations and clubs. The various chapters of Tall Clubs International, for example, generally have height requirements of 5’10” for women and 6’2″ for men (though the more particular California Tip Toppers chapter ups this to 6′ and 6’4″). The various online tall forums and social media groups use similar limits to define tall. Though a tall definition derived from these is more precise than those of dictionaries, it would fail to highlight the relativity of the

In the medical world, the term “tall stature” is common and has a more precise definition: tall stature is when a person’s vertical extent is greater than two standard deviations (approximately the 98th percentile) above the average height for a given gender and population [1,2]. Somewhat less common is the 95th percentile tall definition.

Chart for a Tall Definition

Height Probability Distribution for US men and women (assumes normal distribution) Source: [3]

Though perhaps this tall definition is a bit stringent for contexts other than medical, its admission to tall being relative is important in all contexts. It allows for a 6′ guy to be considered about average height in the Netherlands, but tall in Korea, and merely above average in the US [1].

Graph for a Tall Definition

So now you have a variety of tall definitions from which to choose. Which one do you think is the best? Or perhaps you have another tall definition?

If you found this article informative, you might also appreciate the Height Calculator.

[1] L. S. Stenvert, J. Wouter, M. P. Sabine, “Sex Steroid Treatment of Constitutionally Tall Stature”, Endocrine Reviews, 1998.
[2] K. C. Alexander, Lane, Robson, “Evaluating Tall Children”, Canadian Family Physician, 1995.
[3] National Health Statistics Reports, Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2003–2006.


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