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

Definition of tattle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 chiefly US : to tell secrets about what someone else has done : blab
2 : chatter, prate

transitive verb

: to utter or disclose in gossip or chatter



Definition of tattle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : idle talk : chatter
2 : gossip

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Synonyms for tattle

Synonyms: Verb

blab, dish, gossip, talk, wag

Synonyms: Noun

buzz, dish, gossip, hearsay, noise, report, rumor, scuttlebutt, talk, word

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Examples of tattle in a Sentence


those neighborhood busybodies, constantly tattling and whispering over their backyard fences


she claims to have picked up some juicy tattle about the candidate

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Today, members get called into bishops’ offices because someone tattled about a private Facebook post. Sarah Scoles, Longreads, "Meet the New Mormons," 8 June 2018 Rather, children’s tattling was entirely focused on informing the victim about the transgression and/or the transgressor. Scott Berson, charlotteobserver, "Lots of kids tattletale - but maybe that's a good thing, study says | Charlotte Observer," 6 Apr. 2018 In May, the University of Arizona hired students to tattle on their peers for microaggressions. Katherine Timpf, National Review, "UConn Offers Counseling for Students Upset at ‘Even the Thought of’ a Ben Shapiro Speech," 24 Jan. 2018 One time in the fourth grade, a kid said the f-word during recess and someone tattled on him. Danielle Friedman, The Cut, "Should I Forking Force Myself to Swear More?," 26 Dec. 2017 Little Sheldon is an easily anxious fellow who tattles and condescends. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Young Sheldon': Standout among new series," 22 Sep. 2017 By the sound of it, Pacers ownership lost its cool and, for lack of a better term, tattled. Nick Greene, Slate Magazine, "Tampering with pro basketball players should be totally legal.," 8 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That letter was copied and circulated widely (a common practice in the 1600s), and a copy found its way into the hands of a tattle-tale Dominican friar named Niccolò Lorini. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Newly discovered letter by Galileo resolves puzzling historical mystery," 22 Sep. 2018 Gordon-Levitt voices Slowen Lo, the tattle-tale alien with the thick southern drawl, who complains about Finn and Rose parking their shuttle on the beach of Canto Bight. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," 18 Dec. 2017 Related tittle-tattle posited that the company’s new smartwatch would come with its own cellular connectivity. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies — CEO Daily, Monday 11th September," 11 Sep. 2017 Being the younger sister, naturally Arya threatens to tattle. James Hibberd, PEOPLE.com, "Game of Thrones Recap: 'Beyond the Wall'," 21 Aug. 2017 With all of this tittle-tattle, your lips desperately need some TLC. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What This Week's Horoscope Means for You," 14 Aug. 2017 Always keeping an eye out for jumpers, watching the tattle-tales, black bungees strung to the lines, which stretched and contracted as fish hit the bugs. Author: Brendan Jones, Alaska Dispatch News, "Like a conveyor belt of salmon: A Southeast fishing run to remember," 11 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tattle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tattle


1547, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2


circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tattle


Middle Dutch tatelen; akin to Middle English tateren to tattle

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Statistics for tattle

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Time Traveler for tattle

The first known use of tattle was circa 1529

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More Definitions for tattle



English Language Learners Definition of tattle

chiefly US, informal : to tell a parent, teacher, etc., about something bad or wrong that another child has done


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

Kids Definition of tattle

: to tell on someone

Other Words from tattle

tattler \ ˈtat-​lər \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on tattle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tattle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tattle

Spanish Central: Translation of tattle

Nglish: Translation of tattle for Spanish Speakers

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