Synonyms & Antonyms of tell

1 to give an oral or written account of in some detail
  • they told the story of how they had met

Synonyms for tell

Words Related to tell

Phrases Synonymous with tell

2 to express (a thought or emotion) in words
  • just tell us what is in your heart

Synonyms for tell

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Phrases Synonymous with tell

Near Antonyms for tell

3 to find the sum of (a collection of things) by noting each one as it is being added
  • who can tell the number of grains of sand in the world?

Synonyms for tell

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4 to give information to
  • tell me, when did you begin playing the violin?

Synonyms for tell

Words Related to tell

Phrases Synonymous with tell

Near Antonyms for tell

5 to issue orders to (someone) by right of authority
  • told us to sit still and wait

Synonyms for tell

Words Related to tell

Near Antonyms for tell

Antonyms for tell

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About tell

How does the verb tell differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of tell are betray, disclose, divulge, and reveal. While all these words mean "to make known what has been or should be concealed," tell implies an imparting of necessary or useful information.

told them what he had overheard

Where would betray be a reasonable alternative to tell?

While in some cases nearly identical to tell, betray implies a divulging that represents a breach of faith or an involuntary or unconscious disclosure.

a blush that betrayed her embarrassment

When would disclose be a good substitute for tell?

The words disclose and tell can be used in similar contexts, but disclose may imply a discovering but more often an imparting of information previously kept secret.

candidates must disclose their financial assets

When might divulge be a better fit than tell?

Although the words divulge and tell have much in common, divulge implies a disclosure involving some impropriety or breach of confidence.

refused to divulge an anonymous source

In what contexts can reveal take the place of tell?

The meanings of reveal and tell largely overlap; however, reveal may apply to supernatural or inspired revelation of truths beyond the range of ordinary human vision or reason.

divine will as revealed in sacred writings

Learn More About tell

Time Traveler for tell

Time Traveler

The first known use of tell was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Tell.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on tell

Nglish: Translation of tell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tell for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tell


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