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tell 1 (tĕl)
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v. told (tōld), tell·ing, tells
v.tr.
1.
a. To communicate by speech or writing; express with words: She told him that the store was closed. Tell me the truth.
b. To give a detailed account of; narrate: told what happened; told us a story.
c. To notify (someone) of something; inform: He told us of his dream to sail around the world.
d. To make known; disclose or reveal: tell a secret; tell fortunes.
e. To inform (someone) positively; assure: I tell you, the plan will work.
f. To give instructions to; direct: told the customers to wait in line.
2. To discover by observation; discern: We could tell that he was upset.
3. To name or number one by one; count: telling one's blessings; 16 windows, all told.
v.intr.
1. To relate a story or give an account of an event: The sailor told of having been adrift for days.
2. To reveal something that is not supposed to be revealed, especially something that someone has done wrong: She promised not to tell on her friend.
3. To have an effect or impact: In this game every move tells.
n.
Games An unintentional or unconsciously exhibited behavior that reveals or betrays one's state of mind, as when playing poker.
Phrasal Verb:
tell off Informal
To rebuke severely; reprimand.
Idiom:
tell time
To determine the time of day indicated by the positions of the hands on a clock.

[Middle English tellen, from Old English tellan; see del-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

tella·ble adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
tell 2 (tĕl)
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n.
A mound, especially in the Middle East, made up of the remains of a succession of previous settlements.

[Arabic tall; see tll in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Tell (tĕl), William fl. early 14th cent.?
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Swiss patriot who, according to legend, sparked a rebellion against Habsburg rule after he was forced to shoot an apple off his son's head with a crossbow.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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