tell


tell
tell
W1S1 [tel] v past tense and past participle told [təuld US tould]
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
1¦(communicate something)¦
2¦(show something)¦
3¦(what somebody should do)¦
4¦(know)¦
5¦(recognize difference)¦
6 tell yourself something
7¦(warn)¦
8¦(tell somebody about bad behaviour)¦
9 tell tales
10 all told
11¦(affect)¦
12 tell the time
13 I/I'll tell you what
14 to tell (you) the truth
15 I can tell you/I'm telling you
16 tell me
17 I told you so
18 I'll tell you something/one thing/another thing
19 you can tell him from me
20 I couldn't tell you
21 I can't tell you
22 don't tell me
23 somebody tells me (that)
24 you're telling me
25 tell me about it
26 you never can tell/you can never tell
27 there's no telling what/how etc
28 that would be telling
29 tell somebody where to go/where to get off
30 tell it like it is
31 I'm not telling (you)
32 tell me another (one)
Phrasal verbs
 tell against somebody
 tell somebody/something apart
 tell of somebody/something
 tell somebody<=>off
 tell on somebody
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
[: Old English; Origin: tellan]
1.) ¦(COMMUNICATE SOMETHING)¦ [T]
if someone tells you something, they communicate information, a story, their feelings etc to you
tell sb (that)
I wish someone had told me the meeting was canceled.
The Chief of Police told reporters that two people were killed in the blast.
tell sb what/how/where/who etc
Jack had to go, but he didn't tell me why.
I think you'd better tell me exactly what's been going on around here.
tell sb about sth
No one had told them about the drug's side effects.
I'll tell you all about it when I get back.
tell sb sth
Tell me your phone number again.
tell (sb) a story/joke/secret/lie
She told us some funny stories about her sister.
Sheppard was telling the truth .
tell sb straight
(=tell someone the truth, even though it might upset them)
Tell me straight, Adam. Just answer yes or no.
see usage notesay1
2.) ¦(SHOW SOMETHING)¦ [T]
to give information in ways other than talking
tell sb how/what/where/who etc
The light tells you when the machine is ready.
The bear's sense of smell tells it where prey is hiding.
tell sb about sth
What do these fossils tell us about climate change?
3.) ¦(WHAT SOMEBODY SHOULD DO)¦ [T]
to say that someone must do something
tell sb (not) to do sth
The teacher told the children to sit down quietly.
I thought I told you not to touch anything!
tell sb (that)
Bernice was told she had to work late this evening.
tell sb what/how etc
Stop trying to tell me what to do all the time.
Do as you are told (=obey me) and don't ask questions.
4.) ¦(KNOW)¦ [I,T not in progressive]
to know something or be able to recognize something because of certain signs that show this
can/can't tell
She might have been lying. Benjy couldn't tell.
tell (that)
The moment Kramer walked in, I could tell that things were not going well.
tell (sth) a mile off
(=know easily)
You could tell a mile off that he was lying.
tell when/how/whether/if etc
It's hard to tell how long the job will take.
tell sth by sth/from sth
I could tell from his tone of voice that Ken was disappointed.
5.) ¦(RECOGNIZE DIFFERENCE)¦ [T not in progressive]
to be able to see how one person or thing is different from another
tell sth from sth
How can you tell a fake Vuitton handbag from the real thing?
Can you tell the difference between sparkling wine and champagne?
tell apart
6.) tell yourself sth
to persuade yourself that something is true
I keep telling myself there is nothing I could have done to save him.
7.) ¦(WARN)¦ [T usually in past tense]
to warn someone that something bad might happen
tell sb (that)
I told you it was a waste of time talking to him.
tell sb (not) to do sth
My mother told me not to trust Robert.
8.) ¦(TELL SOMEBODY ABOUT BAD BEHAVIOUR)¦ [i]informal
to tell someone in authority about something wrong that someone you know has done - used especially by children
= ↑tell on somebody
If you hit me, I'll tell.
9.) tell tales
BrE to say something that is not true about someone else, in order to cause trouble for them - used especially about children
an unpopular boy, who was always telling tales on the other children
→↑telltale2
10.) all told
altogether, when everyone or everything has been counted
There must have been eight cars in the accident, all told.
11.) ¦(AFFECT)¦ [I not in progressive]
to have an effect on someone, especially a harmful one
tell on sb
These late nights are really beginning to tell on him.
12.) tell the time
BrE tell time AmE
to be able to know what time it is by looking at a clock
13.) spoken I/I'll tell you what also tell you what
a) used when you are suggesting or offering something
I tell you what - let's have a picnic in the park.
b) AmE used in order to emphasize what you are really saying
I tell you what, I'm not looking forward to standing up in court tomorrow.
14.) spoken to tell (you) the truth
used to emphasize that you are being very honest
I don't really want to go out, to tell the truth.
15.) spoken I can tell you/I'm telling you
used to emphasize that what you are saying is true even though it may be difficult to believe
I'm telling you, Sheila, I've never seen anything like it in my life.
16.) spoken tell me
used before asking a question
Tell me, do you think this dress goes with these shoes?
So tell me, how was it in Argentina?
17.) spoken I told you so
used when you have warned someone about a possible danger that has now happened and they have ignored your warning
I suppose you've come to say 'I told you so.'
18.) spoken I'll tell you sth/one thing/another thing also let me tell you sth/one thing/another thing
used to emphasize what you are saying
I'll tell you one thing - you'll never get me to vote for him.
Let me tell you something - if I catch you kids smoking again, you'll be grounded for a month at least.
19.) spoken you can tell him from me
used to ask someone to tell another person something, when you are annoyed or determined
Well, you can tell him from me that I'm going to make a complaint.
20.) spoken I couldn't tell you
used to tell someone that you do not know the answer to their question
'How much would a rail ticket cost?' ' I couldn't tell you; I always drive.'
21.) spoken I can't tell you
a) used to say that you cannot tell someone something because it is a secret
'Where are you taking me?' 'I can't tell you; it would spoil the surprise.'
b) used to say that you cannot express your feelings or describe something properly
I can't tell you how/why/what etc
I can't tell you how worried I've been.
22.) spoken don't tell me
used to interrupt someone because you know what they are going to say or because you want to guess - used especially when you are annoyed
'I'm sorry I'm late but ...' 'Don't tell me - the car broke down again?'
23.) spoken sb tells me (that)
used to say what someone has told you
Mike tells me you've got a new job.
24.) spoken you're telling me
used to emphasize that you already know and agree with something that someone has just said
'He's such a pain to live with.' 'You're telling me!'
25.) spoken tell me about it
used to say that you already know how bad something is, especially because you have experienced it yourself
'I've been so tired lately.' 'Yeah, tell me about it!'
26.) spoken you never can tell/you can never tell
used to say that you cannot be certain about what will happen in the future
The boy might turn out to be a genius. You never can tell.
27.) spoken there's no telling what/how etc
used to say that it is impossible to know what has happened or what will happen next
There's no telling what she'll try next.
28.) spoken that would be telling
used to say that you cannot tell someone something because it is a secret
29.) spoken tell sb where to go/where to get off
used to tell someone angrily that what they have said is insulting or unfair
'Andy started criticizing the way I was dressed.' 'I hope you told him where to get off!'
30.) spoken tell it like it is
AmE to say exactly what you think or what is true, without hiding anything that might upset or offend people
Don always tells it like it is.
31.) spoken I'm not telling (you)
used to say that you refuse to tell someone something
'Mum, what are you getting me for my birthday?' 'I'm not telling you - you'll have to wait and see.'
32.) spoken tell me another (one)
used when you do not believe what someone has told you
tell against [tell against sb] phr v
to make someone less likely to succeed in achieving or winning something
I badly wanted the job, but knew that my age would probably tell against me.
tell apart [tell sb/sth apart] phr v
if you can tell two people or things apart, you can see the difference between them, so that you do not confuse them
It's almost impossible to tell the twins apart.
tell of / [tell of sb/sth] phr v
to describe an event or person
The poem tells of the deeds of a famous warrior.
tell off [tell sb<=>off] phr v
if someone in authority tells you off, they speak to you angrily about something wrong that you have done
be/get told off
Shelley was one of those kids who was always getting told off at school.
tell sb off for doing sth
My dad told me off for swearing.
tell on [tell on sb] phr vto tell someone in authority about something wrong that someone you know has done - used especially by children
Please don't tell on me - my parents will kill me if they find out!

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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