v. (past and past part. told)
1 tr. relate or narrate in speech or writing; give an account of (tell me a story).
2 tr. make known; express in words; divulge (tell me your name; tell me what you want).
3 tr. reveal or signify to (a person) (your face tells me everything).
4 tr. a utter (don't tell lies). b warn (I told you so).
5 intr. a (often foll. by of, about) divulge information or a description; reveal a secret (I told of the plan; promise you won't tell). b (foll. by on) colloq. inform against (a person).
6 tr. (foll. by to + infin.) give (a person) a direction or order (tell them to wait; do as you are told).
7 tr. assure (it's true, I tell you).
8 tr. explain in writing; instruct (this book tells you how to cook).
9 tr. decide, determine, distinguish (cannot tell which button to press; how do you tell one from the other?).
10 intr. a (often foll. by on) produce a noticeable effect (every disappointment tells; the strain was beginning to tell on me). b reveal the truth (time will tell). c have an influence (the evidence tells against you).
11 tr. (often absol.) count (votes) at a meeting, election, etc.
Phrases and idioms:
as far as one can tell judging from the available information. tell apart distinguish between (usu. with neg. or interrog.: could not tell them apart). tell me another colloq. an expression of incredulity. tell off 1 colloq. reprimand, scold.
2 count off or detach for duty. tell a tale (or its own tale) be significant or revealing. tell tales report a discreditable fact about another. tell that to the marines see MARINE. tell the time determine the time from the face of a clock or watch. there is no telling it is impossible to know (there's no telling what may happen). you're telling me colloq. I agree wholeheartedly.
tellable adj.
Etymology: OE tellan f. Gmc, rel. to TALE
n. Archaeol. an artificial mound in the Middle East etc. formed by the accumulated remains of ancient settlements.
Etymology: Arab. tall hillock

Useful english dictionary. 2012.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • tell — [ tɛl ] n. m. • 1866; mot ar. « colline » ♦ Archéol. Colline artificielle, tertre ou tumulus formé par des ruines. « les premières cités édifiées sur les “tells” surhaussés par la ruine des villages précédents » (Leroi Gourhan). ⊗ HOM. Tel. ●… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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