Simple Definition of tell
: to say or write (something) to (someone)
: to say (a word or words) to (someone)
: to give information to (someone) by speaking or writing
Full Definition of tell
told play \ˈtōld\ tell·ing
4a : to give information to : inform <tell us about your job>b : to assure emphatically <they did not do it, I tell you>
6 : to find out by observing : recognize <you can tell it's a masterpiece>
1 : to give an account <an article telling of her experience>
2 : to act as an informer —often used with on <I'll get even with you if you ever tell on me — Inside Detective>
Examples of tell
He told us the story.
Has she told you the good news, yet?
Please tell us your name and occupation.
She looked at the palm of my hand and told me my fortune.
If you see her, tell her hello for me.
“I feel sick,” he told his mom.
“What is his name?” “I don't know. He didn't tell me.”
“Who is the letter from?” “I'm not telling.”
I promise not to tell anyone.
I can't tell you because it's a secret.
Origin of tell
Middle English, from Old English tellan; akin to Old High German zellen to count, tell, Old English talu tale
First Known Use: before 12th century
Synonym Discussion of tell
Origin of tell
First Known Use: 1864
TELL Defined for Kids
Definition of tell
1 : to let a person know something : to give information to <I'll tell them when they get here.>
2 : 1order 2 <The policeman told us to wait.>
3 : to find out by observing <My little brother has learned to tell time.>
4 : 1say 1 <Don't tell a lie.>
5 : to describe in detail <Can you tell me a story?>
6 : to make known <tell a secret>
7 : to bring the bad behavior of to the attention of an authority <Don't tell on me.>
8 : 1count 1 <All told there were 27 of us.>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up tell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).