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 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, "Chasing Illicit Money, Global Officials Circle a Puerto Rican Firm," 19 Oct. 2020 The email was, in effect, asking residents to tattle on each other for failing to socially distance. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, "A Senior Home’s ‘Drastic Step’ to Enforce Social Distancing," 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, "Facebook’s ‘Clear History’ button is basically a farce," 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, "Catholic seminarians are newly speaking out about sexual misconduct — and being shunned as a result," 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, "Bed bugs, tan suits, baked beans, and kombucha," 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, "The Bachelorette Season 15, Week 6 Recap: It's A Trap!," 20 June 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "Bridgerton: The Real-Life Lady Whistledowns of Regency-Era England," 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, "An Encounter Sabotaged," 17 Nov. 2020 For all her tattle, Mrs. Tittlemouse knew not of the coronavirus pivot. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: At Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 'Beatrix Potter Drive-In,’ the pint-sized people in the back seat get their due," 11 Oct. 2020 Google no longer has to worry about Microsoft tattle-telling on its powerful ad business. Washington Post, "Bing’s Not the Laughingstock of Technology Anymore," 31 May 2019 But some of the most salacious tittle-tattle originates from inside the palace. K.j. Yossman, Marie Claire, "Inside the Cutthroat World of Royal Gossips," 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, "A Hong Kong ‘Troublemaker’ With a Clean Conscience," 23 Aug. 2019 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

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 3 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on tattle

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Nglish: Translation of tattle for Spanish Speakers

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