tell

Listen:
 [ˈtɛl]


For the verb: "to tell"

Simple Past: told
Past Participle: told

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
tell1 /tɛl/USA pronunciation   v.,  told/toʊld/USA pronunciation  tell•ing. 
  1. to narrate (a story, etc.) to (someone): [+ object]He told a story to the children.[+ object + object]He told the children a story.[no object]The story tells of the legend of King Arthur.
  2. to make known (a fact, news, etc.) to (someone);
    communicate: [+ object + object]He told us the news of her death.[+ object + about/of + object]He told us about her death.[+ object + (that) clause]He told us that she had died.
  3. to inform (a person) of something:[+ object + object]He told me his name.
  4. to utter (the truth, etc.);
    speak: [+ object (+ to + object)]He wasn't telling the truth to his wife.[+ object + object]He wasn't telling his wife the truth.
  5. to express (thoughts, feelings, etc.) in words:[+ object]to tell one's love.
  6. to reveal to others by speaking to them about (something private): [+ object + object]I just told her a secret.[+ object (+ to + object)]I told a secret (to my wife).[no object]Will you hate me if I tell?
  7. [not: be + ~-ing] to say or assert positively: [~ (+ object) + clause]I can't tell (you) when inflation will come down.[no object]When will inflation come down? I can't tell yet.
  8. [not: be + ~-ing] to be able to see clearly; distinguish;know: [+ object]to tell twins apart.[+ clause]to tell if it is night or day.[no object]:Don't ask me how I know; I can just tell.
  9. to order or command: [+ object + to + verb]Tell her to stop.[+ object + (that) clause]I told her (that) she should pull the car over and stop.
  10. to give evidence of (something) to (someone);
    indicate:[usually not: be + ~ -ing;+ object + clause]The light on the dashboard tells you if you're driving too fast.
  11. to produce a strong effect:[no object;  (~ + on + object)]The strain of his job began to tell on him.
  12. Informal Termstell off, to scold severely: [+ object + off]It was about time somebody told him off.[+ off + object]He told off the whole class because no one was handing in assignments.
  13. tell on, [+ on + object] to tattle on:Don't tell on your sister.
Idioms
  1. all told, when all have been counted:All told, seventeen planes were shot down.
  2. Idiomstell it like it is, [no object]Informal.]to be blunt and tell the whole truth:Let me tell it like it is: Things are tough and they're going to get tougher.
  3. time will tell, [no object] in time, the facts will be clearly known:She may have the makings of an excellent teacher; time will tell.

    See say.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
tell1 (tel),USA pronunciation  v.,  told, tell•ing. 

v.t. 
  1. to give an account or narrative of;
    narrate;
    relate (a story, tale, etc.):to tell the story of Lincoln's childhood.
  2. to make known by speech or writing (a fact, news, information, etc.);
    communicate.
  3. to announce or proclaim.
  4. to utter (the truth, a lie, etc.).
  5. to express in words (thoughts, feelings, etc.).
  6. to reveal or divulge (something secret or private).
  7. to say plainly or positively:I cannot tell just what was done.
  8. to discern or recognize (a distant person or thing) so as to be able to identify or describe:Can you tell who that is over there?
  9. to distinguish;
    discriminate;
    ascertain:You could hardly tell the difference between them.
  10. to inform (a person) of something:He told me his name.
  11. to assure emphatically:I won't, I tell you!
  12. to bid, order, or command:Tell him to stop.
  13. to mention one after another, as in enumerating;
    count or set one by one or in exact amount:to tell the cattle in a herd; All told there were 17 if we are correct.

v.i. 
  1. to give an account or report:Tell me about your trip.
  2. to give evidence or be an indication:The ruined temples told of an ancient culture, long since passed from existence.
  3. to disclose something secret or private;
    inform;
    tattle:She knows who did it, but she won't tell.
  4. to say positively;
    determine;
    predict:Who can tell?
  5. to have force or effect;
    operate effectively:a contest in which every stroke tells.
  6. to produce a marked or severe effect:The strain was telling on his health.
  7. British Termsto talk or chat.
  8. tell it like it is, [Informal.]to tell the complete, unadulterated truth;
    be forthright:He may be crude but he tells it like it is.
  9. tell off: 
    • to separate from the whole and assign to a particular duty.
    • [Informal.]to rebuke severely;
      scold:It was about time that someone told him off.
  10. tell on, to tattle on (someone).
  • bef. 900; Middle English tellen, Old English tellan to relate, count; cognate with Dutch tellen to reckon, count, Old Norse telja to count, say, Old High German zellēn; akin to tale
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged recount, describe, report.
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged impart.
    • 4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged speak.
    • 6.See corresponding entry in Unabridged disclose, betray;
      acknowledge, own, confess;
      declare.

tell2 (tel),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Archaeologyan artificial mound consisting of the accumulated remains of one or more ancient settlements (often used in Egypt and the Middle East as part of a place name).
  • Arabic tall hillock
  • 1860–65

Tell  (tel),USA pronunciation n.  Wil•helm 
    (tel),USA pronunciation 
  1. MythologySee  William Tell. 


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

tell /tɛl/ vb (tells, telling, told)
  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to let know or notify
  2. (transitive) to order or instruct (someone to do something)
  3. when intr, usually followed by of: to give an account or narration (of something)
  4. (transitive) to communicate by words; utter: to tell the truth
  5. (transitive) to make known; disclose: to tell fortunes
  6. (intransitive) often followed by of: to serve as an indication: her blush told of her embarrassment
  7. (tr; used with can, etc; may take a clause as object) to comprehend, discover, or discern: I can tell what is wrong
  8. (tr; used with can, etc) to distinguish or discriminate: he couldn't tell chalk from cheese
  9. (intransitive) to have or produce an impact, effect, or strain: every step told on his bruised feet
  10. (intransitive) sometimes followed by on: informal to reveal secrets or gossip (about)
  11. (transitive) to assure: I tell you, I've had enough!
  12. (transitive) to count (votes)
  13. tell the timeto read the time from a clock
  14. you're telling meslang I know that very well

See also tell apart, tell offEtymology: Old English tellan; related to Old Saxon tellian, Old High German zellen to tell, count, Old Norse telja

ˈtellable adj
tell /tɛl/ n
  1. a large mound resulting from the accumulation of rubbish on a long-settled site, esp one with mudbrick buildings, particularly in the Middle East
Etymology: 19th Century: from Arabic tall



'tell' also found in these entries:
Collocations: tell a [secret, lie, fib, joke], don't tell [lies, fibs, stories, tales], told us the [news, truth, secret], more...

Forum discussions with the word(s) "tell" in the title:


Look up "tell" at Merriam-Webster
Look up "tell" at dictionary.com

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