: an inadvertent behavior or mannerism that betrays a poker player's true thoughts, intentions, or emotions
The World Series of Poker: earth's greatest liars gathered together with millions of dollars on the line … . It's a blur of action, but the educated spectator ignores these distractions and focuses on the players' mannerisms—it's all part of the science of tells, reflexes a player can't control that, read right, give away his thoughts.—Seth Stevenson
: a revealing gesture, expression, etc., that is likened to a poker player's tell
But his eyes darted fractionally to one side as he said it …; the classic liar's tell.—Stephen King
reveal may apply to supernatural or inspired revelation of truths beyond the range of ordinary human vision or reason.
divine will as revealed in sacred writings
disclose may imply a discovering but more often an imparting of information previously kept secret.
candidates must disclose their financial assets
divulge implies a disclosure involving some impropriety or breach of confidence.
refused to divulge an anonymous source
tell implies an imparting of necessary or useful information.
told them what he had overheard
betray implies a divulging that represents a breach of faith or an involuntary or unconscious disclosure.
a blush that betrayed her embarrassment
Examples of tell in a Sentence
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Why insult your family ... er, teammates by telling them to back off?—Wayne and Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Sep. 2023 Based on the 1990 rom-com that launched Julia Roberts’ career, this up-tempo musical tells the love story of a cynical businessman and the free-spirited escort who rescues him right back.—Joey Morona, cleveland, 17 Sep. 2023 The generators were sold at major home improvement and hardware stores in the US and Canada from April 2011 through June 2023, the Wisconsin company told CNN in a statement Sunday.—Michelle Watson, CNN, 17 Sep. 2023 Burke’s family told the outlet that Ukrainian authorities recently recovered the former paratrooper’s body in the Zaporizhzhia region.—Ben Brasch, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2023 Several former employees told the Associated Press about a coconut cake that H-E-B sends to the attorney general’s office every Christmas.—Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 17 Sep. 2023 One told the base camp manager that his truck had broken down.—Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 The Democrat told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that city officials should embrace the democratic engagement without pushing back.—Riley Bunch, ajc, 17 Sep. 2023 According to Steinem, the head of a major cosmetics company told her that women who read Ms. didn't buy blush or makeup.—Rita Braver, CBS News, 17 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tell.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Old English tellan; akin to Old High German zellen to count, tell, Old English talu tale