tell·​ing | \ ˈte-liŋ \

Definition of telling

: carrying great weight and producing a marked effect : effective, expressive the most telling evidence

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Other Words from telling

tellingly \ ˈte-​liŋ-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for telling

valid, sound, cogent, convincing, telling mean having such force as to compel serious attention and usually acceptance. valid implies being supported by objective truth or generally accepted authority. a valid reason for being absent a valid marriage sound implies a basis of flawless reasoning or of solid grounds. a sound proposal for reviving the economy cogent may stress either weight of sound argument and evidence or lucidity of presentation. the prosecutor's cogent summation won over the jury convincing suggests a power to overcome doubt, opposition, or reluctance to accept. a convincing argument for welfare reform telling stresses an immediate and crucial effect striking at the heart of a matter. a telling example of bureaucratic waste

Examples of telling in a Sentence

Her experience is a telling example of why the nation's educational system needs to be changed. The most telling moment in the case was when the victim took the stand.

Recent Examples on the Web

However, the most telling stat about Zaha is that in nine matches without him, Roy Hodgson's side couldn't even muster a point., "Crystal Palace Star Wilfried Zaha Offered Massive New Contract to Ward Off Interest From Spurs," 20 June 2018 Uber and Lyft’s imminent arrival on the stock market will be a telling moment for the gig economy, according to Robbie Kellman Baxter, the author of The Membership Economy, who also runs the consulting firm Peninsula Strategies. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Uber and Lyft are racing each other to go public. Here’s why.," 12 Dec. 2018 While attending yet another event on their royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga this weekend, Prince Harry gave a very telling response when some local well-wishers told him they hope Meghan Markle gives birth to a girl. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Prince Harry Hopes Meghan Markle Has a Girl, Is Already Father of the Year," 22 Oct. 2018 The most telling reason for its rejection came from Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who had campaigned pushing the plan but who regretfully noted that the taxpayers of Vermont couldn’t afford it. Stephen Horwitz, WSJ, "BernieCare Is Expensive, but So Are the Alternatives," 18 Oct. 2018 To top it all off, Malik was seen entering and leaving his ex's NYC apartment in the same hoodie, which some fans took to be a very telling clue. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Are Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Back Together?," 18 June 2018 The exhibit’s termination involved a Barnum-style triumph whose intricacies provide one of the more telling moments—there are many—in the film’s Barnum portrait. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "When ‘The Circus’ Came to Town," 4 Oct. 2018 To protect his privacy, The AP didn’t plot the most telling and frequent marker — his home address. Ryan Nakashima, The Seattle Times, "Google tracks your movements, like it or not," 13 Aug. 2018 One of the most telling statements may be the fact that as GPU prices come down, sales of gaming PCs increase. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "The PC market actually grew in Q2 2018, thanks to business PCs," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'telling.' 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 telling

1819, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for telling

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for telling

The first known use of telling was in 1819

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English Language Learners Definition of telling

: producing a strong or important effect

: giving information about someone or something without intending to

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More from Merriam-Webster on telling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with telling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for telling

Nglish: Translation of telling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of telling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on telling

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


to gather or build up little by little

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