Definition of tell
3a : to give information to : inform tell us about your jobb : to assure emphatically they did not do it, I tell you
5 : to find out by observing : recognize you can tell it's a masterpiece
1 : to give an account an article telling of her experience
2 : to tell someone (such as a parent or other person of authority) about what someone else has done —often used with on I'll get even with you if you ever tell on me — Inside Detective
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.
Recent Examples of tell from the Web
Senior center Anas Mahmoud, a 7-footer who started 15 games last season, just recovered from a sprained ankle that kept him out of practice the past few weeks, Pitino told the Courier-Journal after his radio interview.
Growing up, Augusto 'Cookie' Rojas' mother told him he had three career options: architect, doctor, or lawyer.
Minshew told Wired about her experiences in the startup world in 2014.
Machine-learning algorithms can tell the difference by sniffing out correlations among the multiple variables that describe the showers.
Some planting instructions that tell you to put seeds through a chill before planting don’t mention that chilling period should be in damp potting soil, either in a container or a plastic bag.
Patients who aren't told of all their options could sue their health care provider for malpractice, and Olp said the state's licensing board could discipline doctors or nurses directly.
Using as his material the basic goodness and generosity of spirit in regular people, Carroll tells a different story of America.
Moon’s sports minister, Do Jong-hwan, told lawmakers recently that South Korea was also studying a joint women’s ice hockey team with North Korea for the Pyeongchang Games.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tell'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of tell
Middle English, from Old English tellan; akin to Old High German zellen to count, tell, Old English talu tale
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of tell
Origin and Etymology of tell
First Known Use: 1840See Words from the same year
TELL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tell for English Language Learners
: to say or write (something) to (someone)
: to say (a word or words) to (someone)
: to give information to (someone) by speaking or writing
TELL Defined for Kids
Definition of tell for Students
1 : to let a person know something : to give information to I'll tell them when they get here.
2 : 1order 2 The policeman told us to wait.
3 : to find out by observing My little brother has learned to tell time.
4 : 1say 1 Don't tell a lie.
5 : to describe in detail Can you tell me a story?
6 : to make known tell a secret
7 : to bring the bad behavior of to the attention of an authority Don't tell on me.
8 : 1count 1 All told there were 27 of us.
Seen and Heard
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