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present participle of tell
as in counting
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 & Similar Words


Synonym Chooser

How is the word telling different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of telling are cogent, convincing, sound, and valid. While all these words mean "having such force as to compel serious attention and usually acceptance," telling stresses an immediate and crucial effect striking at the heart of a matter.

a telling example of bureaucratic waste

When would cogent be a good substitute for telling?

Although the words cogent and telling have much in common, cogent may stress either weight of sound argument and evidence or lucidity of presentation.

the prosecutor's cogent summation won over the jury

When is it sensible to use convincing instead of telling?

The synonyms convincing and telling are sometimes interchangeable, but convincing suggests a power to overcome doubt, opposition, or reluctance to accept.

a convincing argument for welfare reform

When is sound a more appropriate choice than telling?

The words sound and telling can be used in similar contexts, but sound implies a basis of flawless reasoning or of solid grounds.

a sound proposal for reviving the economy

Where would valid be a reasonable alternative to telling?

While the synonyms valid and telling are close in meaning, valid implies being supported by objective truth or generally accepted authority.

a valid reason for being absent
a valid marriage

Thesaurus Entries Near telling

Cite this Entry

“Telling.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on telling

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