tell off

told off; telling off; tells off

Definition of tell off

transitive verb

1 : reprimand, excoriate told him off for his arrogance
2 : to number and set apart especially : to assign to a special duty told off a detail and put them to opening a trench — J. F. Dobie

First Known Use of tell off

1727, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tell off

Time Traveler for tell off

Time Traveler

The first known use of tell off was in 1727

See more words from the same year

Statistics for tell off

Cite this Entry

“Tell off.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tell off

What made you want to look up tell off? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!