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verb (used with object), tat·tled, tat·tling.
  1. to utter idly; disclose by gossiping.
  1. the act of tattling.
  2. 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. 2018

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Historical Examples of tattle

British Dictionary definitions for tattle


  1. (intr) to gossip about another's personal matters or secrets
  2. (tr) to reveal by gossipingto tattle a person's secrets
  3. (intr) to talk idly; chat
  1. the act or an instance of tattling
  2. 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