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

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 As the economy reopened earlier this year, Disney’s response—and consumers’ enthusiasm to get back to the parks—became a telltale of the country’s larger re-emergence. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, 29 July 2021 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, 21 Nov. 2019 But the best telltale is that the tourists are the only ones swimming in the ocean. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 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, 28 Oct. 2019 That’s a telltale for the approach on the culinary business for me. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 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,, 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of telltale was in 1548

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Cite this Entry

“Telltale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for telltale



English Language Learners Definition of 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

Nglish: Translation of telltale for Spanish Speakers


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