As a foreign locutor..., the word toll seems weird in the following sentence in The New York Times:

Death Toll Rises From Wind and Flooding

Automatic translations do not help very much : without, costs, number, call, toll ?

Could you give me other examples of sentences with the word toll, or provide synonyms for it?

  • It's a dead metaphor. It's a nice short way of saying 'how many people died'. – Mitch Oct 30 '12 at 17:32
  • @Mitch: In the expression "funeral toll" cited by mhoran_psprep, is it a tax/charge or something else ? – Trimok Oct 30 '12 at 17:40
  • @Trimok Read through the dictionary definition, thesaurus entry, and a nice run down on the etymology of death toll. – coleopterist Oct 30 '12 at 17:51
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    'Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee' (John Donne). – Barrie England Oct 30 '12 at 18:02
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    No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. (John Donne) – Trimok Oct 30 '12 at 18:34

Toll in this case means cost or count. It is the count of the number that died from the storm.

You will also see it referring to money; many times it is a synonym for tariff or tax:

  • Toll road (you pay a fee per mile)
  • Toll bridge (you pay to cross the bridge)
  • Toll booth (The place where you pay to cross the bridge or use the road)
  • Toll call (A telephone call that you pay per minute or per call)

Toll can also refer to bells: a funeral toll.

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