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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Tell


TELL, verb transitive preterit tense and participle passive told. [Latin telum; Latin appello and peal, Latin pello.]

1. To utter; to express in words; to communicate to others.

I will not eat till I have told my errand. Genesis 24:23.

2. To relate; to narrate; to rehearse particulars; as, to tell a story. Genesis 37:16.

And not a man appears to tell their fate.

3. To teach; to inform; to make known; to show by words. tell us the way.

Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Gen 12.

4. To discover; to disclose; to betray.

They will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. Numbers 14:14.

5. To count; to number.

Look now towards heaven, and tell the stars. Gen 15.

6. To relate in confession; to confess or acknowledge.

TELL me now what thou hast done. Joshua 7:19.

7. To publish.

TELL it not in Gath. 2 Samuel 1:4.

8. To unfold; to interpret; to explain. Ezekiel 24:19.

9. To make excuses.

Tush, never tell me. [Not elegant.]

10. To make known.

Our feelings tell us how long they ought to have submitted.

11. To discover; to find; to discern. The colors are so blended that I cannot tell where one ends and the other begins.

TELL, though equivalent in some respects to speak and say, has not always the same application. We say, to tell this, that or what, to tell a story, to tell a word, 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. tell me the whole story; tell me all you know, or all that was said. tell has frequently the sense of narrate; which speak and say have not.

TELL, verb intransitive To give an account; to make report.

--That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. Psalms 36:1.

To tell of

To tell on - to inform. You must not disobey; I will tell of you if you do. This is a common popular use of the word. To tell on, is quite vulgar as well as improper.