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tell

1
[ tel ]
/ tɛl /
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verb (used with object), told, tell·ing.
verb (used without object), told, tell·ing.
Verb Phrases
tell off,
  1. to separate from the whole and assign to a particular duty.
  2. Informal. to rebuke severely; scold: It was about time that someone told him off.
tell on, to tattle on (someone).
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Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Idioms about tell

    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.

Origin of tell

1
First recordedbefore 900; Middle English tellen, tel(le) “to speak, talk, say, mention,” Old English tellan “to tell, relate, count”; cognate with Dutch tellen “to reckon, count,” Old Norse telja “to count, number, say,” Old High German zellēn, German zählen “to count, number”; akin to tale

Other definitions for tell (2 of 3)

tell2
[ tel ]
/ tɛl /

noun
an 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 placename).

Origin of tell

2
First recorded in 1860–65; from Arabic tall “hillock”

Other definitions for tell (3 of 3)

Tell
[ tel ]
/ tɛl /

noun
Wil·helm [vil-helm]. /ˈvɪl hɛlm/. William Tell.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use tell in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tell (1 of 3)

tell1
/ (tɛl) /

verb tells, telling or told

Derived forms of tell

tellable, adjective

Word Origin for tell

Old English tellan; related to Old Saxon tellian, Old High German zellen to tell, count, Old Norse telja

British Dictionary definitions for tell (2 of 3)

tell2
/ (tɛl) /

noun
a large mound resulting from the accumulation of rubbish on a long-settled site, esp one with mudbrick buildings, particularly in the Middle East

Word Origin for tell

C19: from Arabic tall

British Dictionary definitions for tell (3 of 3)

Tell
/ (tɛl) /

noun
William, German name Wilhelm Tell. a legendary Swiss patriot, who, traditionally, lived in the early 14th century and was compelled by an Austrian governor to shoot an apple from his son's head with one shot of his crossbow. He did so without mishap
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with tell

tell

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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