- 1to communicate information, facts, or news to someone
- 2to recognize or distinguish something by observing or hearing it
- 3to reveal or disclose something that was previously kept secret
Using tell: Examples
Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "tell" can be used in various situations through the following examples!
Can you tell me what happened?
I can't tell the difference between these two fabrics.
She finally told him the truth about her past.
The expression on his face told me he was lying.
tell Synonyms and Antonyms
Idioms Using tell
you cannot judge the true nature of someone or something just by looking at them or it
I thought the movie would be terrible based on the trailer, but you can't tell a book by its cover - it was actually really good!
I appreciate that she always tells it like it is, even if it's not what I want to hear.
used to express agreement with someone who has just described a difficult or frustrating situation, implying that the speaker has experienced the same thing
A: I've been working overtime every day this week. B: Tell me about it, I'm exhausted too.
Phrases with tell
He threatened to tell on his little brother if he didn't give him the toy.
It's hard to tell the twins apart because they look so similar.
The teacher told off the students for not doing their homework.
Origins of tell
from Old English 'tellan', meaning 'to count, reckon'
Summary: tell in Brief
The verb 'tell' [tel] means to communicate information, recognize or distinguish something, or reveal something previously kept secret. It is used in various contexts, such as asking for information ('Can you tell me what happened?'), distinguishing between things ('I can't tell the difference between these two fabrics.'), or revealing secrets ('She finally told him the truth about her past.'). 'Tell' is also used in phrases like 'tell on' and idioms like 'you can't tell a book by its cover,' which means that appearances can be deceiving.