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

Synonyms: Noun

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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 candidate
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Turns out some professor just made a funny on Twitter calling Stephens a bedbug (context: the Times has bedbugs) and the latter lost his mind over it and tried to get the poor guy fired by tattling to his provost. Michael Andor Brodeur, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Aug. 2019 Back with the guys, Garrett’s ready to tattle on Luke P., telling the men that — as expected — Luke was dishonest with them. Joyce Chen, refinery29.com, 20 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The following day there was an article in the Washington Post — and instant tittle-tattle everywhere: the president had been planning to meet Solzhenitsyn but had been persuaded not to, and there would only be a lunch with a group of dissidents. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, 17 Nov. 2020 For all her tattle, Mrs. Tittlemouse knew not of the coronavirus pivot. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 11 Oct. 2020 Google no longer has to worry about Microsoft tattle-telling on its powerful ad business. Washington Post, 31 May 2019 But some of the most salacious tittle-tattle originates from inside the palace. K.j. Yossman, Marie Claire, 5 Sep. 2019 His weekly, Next, which began as a print magazine but now has only a digital edition, writes a lot about celebrities and covers local tittle-tattle, but also provides unstinting support for the protests. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 23 Aug. 2019 See More

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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Time Traveler for tattle

Time Traveler

The first known use of tattle was circa 1529

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Cite this Entry

“Tattle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tattle. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tattle


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

More from Merriam-Webster on tattle

Nglish: Translation of tattle for Spanish Speakers


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