Tell v. t. [imp. & p. p. Told p. pr. & vb. n. Telling.]
1. To mention one by one, or piece by piece; to recount; to enumerate; to reckon; to number; to count; as, to tell money. “An heap of coin he told.”
He telleth the number of the stars. --Ps. cxlvii. 4.
Tell the joints of the body. --Jer. Taylor.
2. To utter or recite in detail; to give an account of; to narrate.
Of which I shall tell all the array. --Chaucer.
And not a man appears to tell their fate. --Pope.
3. To make known; to publish; to disclose; to divulge.
Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? --Gen. xii. 18.
4. To give instruction to; to make report to; to acquaint; to teach; to inform.
A secret pilgrimage,
That you to-day promised to tell me of? --Shak.
5. To order; to request; to command.
He told her not to be frightened. --Dickens.
6. 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. To make account of; to regard; to reckon; to value; to estimate. [Obs.]
I ne told no dainity of her love. --Chaucer.
Note: ☞ Tell, though equivalent in some respect to speak and say, has not always the same application. We say, to tell truth or falsehood, to tell a number, to tell the reasons, to tell something or nothing; but we never say, to tell a speech, discourse, or oration, or to tell an argument or a lesson. It is much used in commands; as, tell me the whole story; tell me all you know.
To tell off, to count; to divide. --Sir W. Scott.
Syn: -- To communicate; impart; reveal; disclose; inform; acquaint; report; repeat; rehearse; recite.
Tell·ing a. Operating with great effect; effective; as, a telling speech. -- Tell*ing*ly, adv.
adj 1: disclosing unintentionally; "a telling smile"; "a telltale
panel of lights"; "a telltale patch of oil on the
water marked where the boat went down" [syn: revealing,
2: powerfully persuasive; "a cogent argument"; "a telling
presentation"; "a weighty argument" [syn: cogent, weighty]
3: producing a strong effect; "gave an impressive performance
as Othello"; "a telling gesture" [syn: impressive]
n 1: an act of narration; "he was the hero according to his own
relation"; "his endless recounting of the incident
eventually became unbearable" [syn: relation, recounting]
2: informing by words [syn: apprisal, notification]
3: disclosing information or giving evidence about another
[syn: tattle, singing]