View synonyms for telltale


[ tel-teyl ]


  1. a person who heedlessly or maliciously reveals private or confidential matters; tattler; talebearer.
  2. a thing serving to reveal or disclose something.
  3. any of various indicating or registering devices, as a time clock.
  4. Music. a gauge on an organ for indicating the air pressure.
  5. an indicator showing the position of a ship's rudder.
  6. a row of strips hung over a track to warn train crew members on freight trains that a low bridge, tunnel, or the like is approaching.
  7. Yachting. (on a sailboat) a feather, string, or similar device, often attached to the port and starboard shrouds and to the backstay, to indicate the relative direction of the wind.
  8. Squash. a narrow piece of metal across the front wall of a court, parallel to and extending 17 inches (43.2 centimeters) above the base: a ball striking this is an out.


  1. that reveals or betrays what is not intended to be known:

    a telltale blush.

  2. giving notice or warning of something, as a mechanical device.


/ ˈtɛlˌteɪl /


  1. a person who tells tales about others
    1. an outward indication of something concealed
    2. ( as modifier )

      a telltale paw mark

  2. any of various indicators or recording devices used to monitor a process, machine, etc
  3. nautical
    1. another word for dogvane
    2. one of a pair of light vanes mounted on the main shrouds of a sailing boat to indicate the apparent direction of the wind

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Other Words From

  • telltalely adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of telltale1

First recorded in 1540–50; tell 1 + tale

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Example Sentences

The post One telltale sign it’s time to replace your laptop battery appeared first on Popular Science.

The brains of individuals with this disorder have telltale spots of disorganized tissue layers, and patients sometimes undergo surgery to remove these brain areas in the hope of reducing their seizures.

Any good electrical conductors sent telltale signals back to a receiver coil, suggesting that the rocks might contain valuable deposits of nickel and cobalt—metals used in the batteries powering cell phones, laptops, and electric cars.

Using the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii to observe GRB 200826A’s host galaxy, the team was able to pick out the telltale infrared light of the supernova.

Like Northup’s memoir, before it recently resurfaced in public memory, the telltale clues of his last years are probably now lost to time.

From Ozy

But these choices are where Iron from Ice (and other Telltale properties) sets itself apart.

Telltale can give the real Game of Thrones experience, but one that you can influence.

Broken twigs, trails to nowhere, and mini-debris landslides, despite the drought, were all telltale signs of heavy use.

These changes in heart rate are usually a telltale sign of infection.

It can cause pneumonia and encephalitis, as well as the telltale rash and “measly” feeling of those who are ill.

Had he been looking at her he would have seen the telltale color tide her cheeks.

Dale's eager tone, his flashing eyes, had made her feel that her secret was there in her telltale face.

However, in a few minutes he heard telltale whistles ahead, and he signaled half speed.

It was all that I could do to fight back the telltale moodiness I felt rising in my face, for I knew her eyes were on me.

One might guess, from telltale eyes and mouth, that his calmness did not go very deep.





tell someone where to get offtell tales