1440, "stick marked with notches to indicate amount owed or paid," from Anglo-Fr. tallie
(1321), Anglo-L. talea
(1189), from M.L. tallia,
from L. talea
"a cutting, rod, stick" (see tailor
, and cf. sense history of score
). Meaning "a thing that matches another" first recorded 1651, 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. The verb is c.1440, from M.L. talliare
"to tax," from tallia.