tell·​tale | \ ˈtel-ˌtāl How to pronounce telltale (audio) \

Definition of telltale

1a : an outward sign : indication
2 : a device for indicating or recording something: such as
a : a wind-direction indicator often in the form of a ribbon
b : a strip of metal on the front wall of a racquets or squash court above which the ball must be hit

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Other Words from telltale

telltale adjective

Examples of telltale in a Sentence

the media's professional telltales have basically decided that today's celebrities have no right to privacy the department telltale told the boss that his coworkers were taking extra long breaks
Recent Examples on the Web Clean all outboard telltales with a piece of wire, and store the engine in a vertical position to make sure the water drains completely. Popmech Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How To Winterize Your Boat for the Cold Months Ahead," 21 Nov. 2019 But the best telltale is that the tourists are the only ones swimming in the ocean. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "A look inside how some plants are able to tolerate the cold Kentucky winters," 15 Nov. 2019 FordPass enabled vehicles have a telltale in the top right hand corner of the SYNC screen if location sharing and remote start/stop, lock/unlock are active. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Five months after returning rental car, man still has remote control," 28 Oct. 2019 That’s a telltale for the approach on the culinary business for me. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chef trained in many kitchens before landing at I.d.," 15 May 2018 And nobody is closer to these telltales - and the people who fuel them - than Lisa Fair, Chico Lewis and Roger Lowe. Mark Naymik,, "Politicians need to take note of needles and ZIP codes in opioid crisis: Mark Naymik," 26 Apr. 2018

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

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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Time Traveler for telltale

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The first known use of telltale was in 1548

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Cite this Entry

“Telltale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for telltale


tell·​tale | \ ˈtel-ˌtāl How to pronounce telltale (audio) \

Kids Definition of telltale

: indicating or giving evidence of something … she figured the telltale signs of crying would have disappeared by the time she got to her grandmother's house.— Kevin Henkes, Olive's Ocean

More from Merriam-Webster on telltale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for telltale

Nglish: Translation of telltale for Spanish Speakers

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