tell /ˈtɛl/ verb
tells; told /ˈtoʊld/ ; telling
tells; told /ˈtoʊld/ ; telling
Learner's definition of TELL
[+ object]
: to say or write (something) to (someone)
often + about often + that
often + what, where, etc.
◊ This sense of tell is often used informally to emphasize a statement.
: to say (a word or words) to (someone)
: to give information to (someone) by speaking or writing
[+ object]
[no object]
: to let (someone) know a secret
[+ object]
[no object]
[+ object] : to express (something) by speaking
[+ object] : to give (someone) an instruction or command
usually followed by to + verb
: to inform others that someone has done something wrong or behaved badly used especially by children
[no object]
[+ object]
see also tell on 1 (below)
[+ object] : to give information to (someone or something) by doing a particular action or making a particular sound
[+ object] : to make (something) known to (someone)
not used in progressive tenses, [+ object] : to see or understand the differences between two people or things
not used in progressive tenses : to see or know (something) with certainty
[+ object]
usually used after can or could
[no object]

all told

see 2all

don't tell me

used to show that you already know what someone is going to say especially because he or she often says such things
used to express surprise and disappointment

I/I'll tell you what

informal also tell you what
used to introduce a suggestion or to emphasize a statement

I told you (so)

used to say to someone that you were right about something especially when that person disagreed with you

tell against

[phrasal verb]
tell against (someone) British, formal
: to be a disadvantage to (someone)

tell apart

[phrasal verb]
tell (someone or something) apart
: to see what the differences are between (people or things) : to identify (people or things that look similar to each other)

tell it like it is

US, informal
: to say what the facts are : to speak about unpleasant things in an honest way

tell me

used in speech to introduce a question

tell me about it

used to say that you understand what someone is talking about because you have had the same or a similar experience

tell of

[phrasal verb] formal + literary
tell of (something)
: to be evidence of (something) : indicate
: to describe (something) : to make the details of (something) known
tell (someone) of (something) : to talk to (someone) about (something)

tell off

[phrasal verb]
tell (someone) off or tell off (someone) informal
US : to yell at or insult (someone who did or said something that made you angry) often + for
British : to criticize (someone) in an angry way from a position of authority often + for

tell on

[phrasal verb]
tell on (someone) informal : to tell someone in authority about the bad behavior or actions of (someone)
tell on (someone or something) not used in progressive tenses : to have a noticeable effect on (someone or something)

tell time

or tell the time
see 1time

there's no telling

used to say that it is impossible to know something with certainty

you're telling me

used to say that you already know and completely agree with something that was just said
Comments & Questions
Comments & Questions
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