- Tell is defined as to communicate in words.
An example of to tell is to provide someone with information about a crime scene.
This woman tells a police officer what she knows.
tell definition by Webster's New World
- to enumerate; count; reckon: to tell time
- to give an account of (a story, etc.) in speech or writing
- to express in words; utter; say: to tell the truth
- to report; announce; publish
- to reveal; disclose; make known: a smile that told her joy
- to recognize; distinguish; discriminate: unable to tell one from the other
- to decide; know: one can't tell what will happen
- to let know; inform; acquaint: tell me about the game
- to request; direct; order; command: tell him to leave
- to state emphatically to: it's there, I tell you
Origin: Middle English tellen ; from Old English tellan, literally , to calculate, reckon ; from Germanic an unverified form taljan from source German zahl, number: see tale
- to give an account or description (of something)
- to give evidence or be an indication (of something)
- to carry tales; reveal secrets: to kiss and tell
- to produce a result; be effective; have a marked effect: efforts that are beginning to tell
Origin: Arabic tall, a mound
tell definition by American Heritage Dictionary
verb told told , tell·ing, tells verb, transitive
- To give a detailed account of; narrate: tell what happened; told us a story.
- To communicate by speech or writing; express with words: tell the truth; tell one's love.
- To make known; reveal: tell a secret; tell fortunes.
- To notify; inform.
- To inform positively; assure: I tell you, the plan will work.
- To give instructions to; direct: told the customers to wait in line.
- To discover by observation; discern: could tell that he was upset.
- To name or number one by one; count: telling one's blessings; 16 windows, all told.
- To give an account or revelation: is prepared to break silence and tell.
- To give evidence; inform: promised not to tell on her friend.
- To have an effect or impact: In this game every move tells.
Origin: Middle English tellen, from Old English tellan; see del-2 in Indo-European roots.
- tellˈa·ble adjective
Origin: Arabic tall; see tll in Semitic roots.
tell - Phrases/Idioms
- to count (persons, etc.) and separate them from the total number
- Informal to rebuke severely
- to have a marked, usually adverse, effect on
- Informal to inform against or gossip about