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tat·​tle ˈta-tᵊl How to pronounce tattle (audio)
tattled; tattling ˈtat-liŋ How to pronounce tattle (audio)

intransitive verb

chiefly US : to tell secrets about what someone else has done : blab

transitive verb

: to utter or disclose in gossip or chatter


2 of 2


: idle talk : chatter
: gossip

Examples of tattle in a Sentence

Verb those neighborhood busybodies, constantly tattling and whispering over their backyard fences Noun she claims to have picked up some juicy tattle about the celebrity couple
Recent Examples on the Web
There is no product settling into the creases of my smile line, tattling on my ‘no makeup; makeup’ look. Leah Romero, ELLE, 20 Apr. 2023 Adults do not tattle. Roxane Gay, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2022 The post went on to imply that the Common Application — the third-party manager of applications for lots of colleges — could tattle to other schools if an applicant broke an early decision agreement. New York Times, 18 Dec. 2021 This is the only way to tattle to the lead: The accusation is specific and limited in scope, the offense just happened, and there are presumably witnesses to the bad behavior. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, 24 Nov. 2021 In essence, said Richard Scott Carnell, a former Treasury Department official, Molyneux was selling Euro Pacific as a firm that will not tattle to tax authorities. Matthew Goldstein, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2020 The email was, in effect, asking residents to tattle on each other for failing to socially distance. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 21 Apr. 2020 Polling his colleagues, Fowler found that sites had tattled to Facebook about their visits to a sperm measurement service, medical insurers and a credit agency. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2020 Priests, seminarians and former seminarians described in interviews a climate of self-censure, with men often tattling on one another and gossiping rather than speaking openly. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2019
Mindy Kaling has a tiny tattle tale on her hands! Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 9 Aug. 2022 Today’s blowhard bloggers and their tattle texts? Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2021 But the real interest of this book lies not in its colorful tittle-tattle but in its richness as psychodrama. Brooke Allen, WSJ, 2 Sep. 2022 Without a healthy dose of historical linguistics, Freeman said, English studies would fill up with distasteful tittle-tattle. Christopher Tayler, Harper’s Magazine , 17 Aug. 2022 There was a time when people, perhaps naively, considered newspapers a cut above chat-show tattle, more reliable, more likely to get at something beyond mere opinion. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 4 Feb. 2022 Let this be a lesson to all future tattle-tales: Use your words when explaining the drama dujour, if not for the lead's sake, for your own. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, 14 June 2021 Independent thinkers retreat to great books, which never tattle or subtweet or bully or, most importantly, bore you to death. Stefan Beck, Washington Examiner, 1 Apr. 2021 Lady Whistledown, the pseudonymous writer of Bridgerton’s tittle-tattle rag, is voiced by Julie Andrews, just as the CW’s mysterious blogger had Kristen Bell as its narrator. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 25 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tattle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle Dutch tatelen; akin to Middle English tateren to tattle

First Known Use


1547, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2


circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tattle was circa 1529

Dictionary Entries Near tattle

Cite this Entry

“Tattle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tattle. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
tat·​tle ˈtat-ᵊl How to pronounce tattle (audio)
tattled; tattling
: to tell secrets : blab


2 of 2 noun
: idle talk : chatter

More from Merriam-Webster on tattle

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