[ tat-l ]
/ ˈtæt l /

verb (used without object), tat·tled, tat·tling.

to let out secrets.
to chatter, prate, or gossip.

verb (used with object), tat·tled, tat·tling.

to utter idly; disclose by gossiping.


the act of tattling.
idle talk; chatter; gossip.

Origin of tattle

1475–85; < Dutch tatelen; cognate with Middle Low German tatelen
Related formstat·tling·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tattle

British Dictionary definitions for tattle


/ (ˈtætəl) /


(intr) to gossip about another's personal matters or secrets
(tr) to reveal by gossipingto tattle a person's secrets
(intr) to talk idly; chat


the act or an instance of tattling
a scandalmonger or gossip

Word Origin for tattle

C15 (in the sense: to stammer, hesitate): from Middle Dutch tatelen to prate, of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tattle



late 15c., "to stammer, prattle," in Caxton's translation of "Reynard the Fox," probably from Middle Flemish tatelen "to stutter," parallel to Middle Dutch, Middle Low German, East Frisian tateren "to chatter, babble," possibly of imitative origin. The meaning "tell tales or secrets" is first recorded 1580s. Sense influenced by tittle. Related: Tattled; tattling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper