telling

[ tel-ing ]
/ ˈtɛl ɪŋ /

adjective

having force or effect; effective; striking: a telling blow.
revealing; indicative of much otherwise unnoticed: a telling analysis of motivation in business.

Origin of telling

First recorded in 1850–55; tell1 + -ing2

OTHER WORDS FROM telling

tell·ing·ly, adverbun·tell·ing, adjective

Definition for telling (2 of 2)

tell1
[ tel ]
/ tɛl /

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).

Origin of tell

1
before 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for telling

British Dictionary definitions for telling (1 of 4)

telling
/ (ˈtɛlɪŋ) /

adjective

having a marked effect or impacta telling blow
revealinga telling smile

Derived forms of telling

tellingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for telling (2 of 4)

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

British Dictionary definitions for telling (3 of 4)

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 telling (4 of 4)

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
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

Idioms and Phrases with telling

tell

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

also see:

  • 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.

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