Dictionary.com

tell

1
[ tel ]
/ tɛl /
Save This Word!

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).
QUIZ
TEST YOUR MERIT ON THESE NEW WORDS IN 2021
The Dictionary added new words and definition to our vast collection, and we want to see how well-versed you are in the formally recognized new lingo. Take the quiz!
Question 1 of 8
What does JEDI stand for?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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
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

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. 2021

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.
FEEDBACK