What does tell mean?

Definitions for tell

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word tell.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Tell, William Tell(verb)

    a Swiss patriot who lived in the early 14th century and who was renowned for his skill as an archer; according to legend an Austrian governor compelled him to shoot an apple from his son's head with his crossbow (which he did successfully without mishap)

  2. state, say, tell(verb)

    express in words

    "He said that he wanted to marry her"; "tell me what is bothering you"; "state your opinion"; "state your name"

  3. tell(verb)

    let something be known

    "Tell them that you will be late"

  4. tell, narrate, recount, recite(verb)

    narrate or give a detailed account of

    "Tell what happened"; "The father told a story to his child"

  5. order, tell, enjoin, say(verb)

    give instructions to or direct somebody to do something with authority

    "I said to him to go home"; "She ordered him to do the shopping"; "The mother told the child to get dressed"

  6. tell(verb)

    discern or comprehend

    "He could tell that she was unhappy"

  7. assure, tell(verb)

    inform positively and with certainty and confidence

    "I tell you that man is a crook!"

  8. tell, evidence(verb)

    give evidence

    "he was telling on all his former colleague"

  9. distinguish, separate, differentiate, secern, secernate, severalize, severalise, tell, tell apart(verb)

    mark as different

    "We distinguish several kinds of maple"

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tell(verb)

    to mention one by one, or piece by piece; to recount; to enumerate; to reckon; to number; to count; as, to tell money

  2. Tell(verb)

    to utter or recite in detail; to give an account of; to narrate

  3. Tell(verb)

    to make known; to publish; to disclose; to divulge

  4. Tell(verb)

    to give instruction to; to make report to; to acquaint; to teach; to inform

  5. Tell(verb)

    to order; to request; to command

  6. Tell(verb)

    to discern so as to report; to ascertain by observing; to find out; to discover; as, I can not tell where one color ends and the other begins

  7. Tell(verb)

    to make account of; to regard; to reckon; to value; to estimate

  8. Tell(verb)

    to give an account; to make report

  9. Tell(verb)

    to take effect; to produce a marked effect; as, every shot tells; every expression tells

  10. Tell(noun)

    that which is told; tale; account

  11. Tell(noun)

    a hill or mound


  1. Tell

    A tell or tel, is a type of archaeological mound created by human occupation and abandonment of a geographical site over many centuries. A classic tell looks like a low, truncated cone with a flat top and sloping sides.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Tell

    tel, v.t. to number or give an account of: to utter: to narrate: to disclose: to inform: to discern: to explain.—v.i. to give an account: to produce or take effect: to chat, gossip: to tell tales, play the informer:—pa.t. and pa.p. tōld.—adj. Tell′able, capable of being told.—ns. Tell′er, one who tells or counts: a clerk whose duty it is to receive and pay money; Tell′ership, the office of a teller.—p.adj. Tell′ing, having great effect.—adv. Tell′ingly, in a telling or effective manner.—n. Tell′-tale, one who tells tales: one who officiously tells the private concerns of others: an indication or an indicator, as an automatic instrument: a bird of genus Totanus, a tattler.—adj. given to reveal secrets, blabbing: apparent, openly seen: giving warning.—Tell off, to count off: to detach on some special duty. [A.S. tellan; Ice. telja, Ger. zählen, to number.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Tell

    a fertile strip of land of 47 m. of average breadth in North-West Africa, between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea; produces cereals, wine, &c.

Suggested Resources

  1. TELL

    What does TELL stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the TELL acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'tell' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #331

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'tell' in Written Corpus Frequency: #178

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'tell' in Verbs Frequency: #24

How to pronounce tell?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say tell in sign language?

  1. tell


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of tell in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of tell in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of tell in a Sentence

  1. Colorado Sen. Mark Udall:

    I must tell you.

  2. Donald Trump:

    Go ahead, tell me.

  3. Ted Cruz:

    I'll tell you why.

  4. George Pell:

    Tell her that I am.

  5. David Fernandes:

    What I can tell you.

Images & Illustrations of tell

  1. telltelltelltelltell

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for tell

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for tell »


Find a translation for the tell definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Український (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Discuss these tell definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"tell." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Feb. 2020. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/tell>.

Are we missing a good definition for tell? Don't keep it to yourself...

Free, no signup required:

Add to Chrome

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Free, no signup required:

Add to Firefox

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for tell:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.