verb (used with object), told, tell·ing.
verb (used without object), told, tell·ing.
- 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.
- tell a thing or two,
- tell apart,
- tell el amarna,
- tell it like it is,
- tell it to the marines
Origin of tell1
Origin of tell2
Examples from the Web for tell
As far as I can tell, this magazine spent as much time making fun of French politicians as it did of Muslims or Islam.
One bystander said he was told to tell the media that they were from al Qaeda in Yemen, or al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
“Jeffrey wanted me to tell you that you looked so pretty,” the female voice said into my disbelieving ear.
They were going to tell their story, consequences be damned.
And I tell Ollie, just look at me, because they just pulled out the pistolas.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
"I think, when I see her, I will tell her all about my Lizzie," he said.The Incomplete Amorist|E. Nesbit
I cannot tell you exactly what she felt when she saw Nino from her lofty window, but she was certainly glad with her whole heart.A Roman Singer|F. Marion Crawford
I tell you that this business is not going to end thus, that we must be avenged.The Downfall|Emile Zola
But when Kaku sought Merytra to tell her the glad tidings that she was his, he could not find her.Morning Star|H. Rider Haggard
Hide it not for my help, for my honour, but tell me, Lest my time and thy time be lost days and confusion!Poems By The Way & Love Is Enough|William Morris
verb tells, telling or told
Word Origin for tell
Word Origin for tell
Old English tellan "to reckon, calculate, consider, account," from Proto-Germanic *taljanan "to mention in order" (cf. Old Saxon tellian, Old Norse telja, Old Frisian tella "to count, tell," Dutch tellen "to count, reckon," Old Saxon talon "to count, reckon," Danish tale "to speak," Old High German zalon, German zählen "to count, reckon"), from root *talo (see tale). Meaning "to narrate, relate" is from c.1000; that of "to make known by speech or writing, announce" is from early 12c. Sense of "to reveal or disclose" is from c.1400; that of "to act as an informer, to 'peach' " is recorded from 1901. Meaning "to order (someone to do something)" is from 1590s. Original sense in teller and phrase to tell time. For sense evolution, cf. French conter "to count," raconter "to recount;" Italian contare, Spanish contar "to count, recount, narrate;" German zählen "to count," erzählen "to recount, narrate."
I tolde hyme so, & euer he seyde nay. [Thomas Hoccleve, "The Regiment of Princes," c.1412]
Telling "having effect or force" is from 1852.
"mound, hill," 1864, from Arabic tall, related to Hebrew tel "mount, hill, heap."
In addition to the idioms beginning with tell
- tell apart
- tell a thing or two
- tell it like it is
- tell it to the Marines
- tell me
- tell off
- tell on
- tell someone where to get off
- tell tales
- tell time
- do tell
- kiss and tell
- show and tell
- something tells me
- there's no telling
- thing or two, tell a
- time will tell
- which is which, tell
- you never can tell
- you're telling me
Also see undertold.