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Related to tell: William Tell

tell 1

v. told (tōld), tell·ing, tells
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.
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.
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.
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- in Indo-European roots.]

tell′a·ble adj.

tell 2

A mound, especially in the Middle East, made up of the remains of a succession of previous settlements.

[Arabic tall; see tll in Semitic roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


vb, tells, telling or told
1. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to let know or notify: he told me that he would go.
2. (tr) to order or instruct (someone to do something): I told her to send the letter airmail.
3. (when: intr, usually foll by of) to give an account or narration (of something): she told me her troubles.
4. (tr) to communicate by words; utter: to tell the truth.
5. (tr) to make known; disclose: to tell fortunes.
6. (often foll by: of) to serve as an indication: her blush told of her embarrassment.
7. (tr; used with can, etc; may take a clause as object) to comprehend, discover, or discern: I can tell what is wrong.
8. (tr; used with can, etc) to distinguish or discriminate: he couldn't tell chalk from cheese.
9. (intr) to have or produce an impact, effect, or strain: every step told on his bruised feet.
10. informal (sometimes foll by: on) to reveal secrets or gossip (about): don't tell!; she told on him.
11. (tr) to assure: I tell you, I've had enough!.
12. (tr) to count (votes)
13. (intr) dialect to talk or chatter
14. informal chiefly US to tell the truth no matter how unpleasant it is
15. tell the time to read the time from a clock
16. you're telling me slang I know that very well
[Old English tellan; related to Old Saxon tellian, Old High German zellen to tell, count, Old Norse telja]
ˈtellable adj


(Human Geography) a large mound resulting from the accumulation of rubbish on a long-settled site, esp one with mudbrick buildings, particularly in the Middle East
[C19: from Arabic tall]


(Biography) William, German name Wilhelm Tell. a legendary Swiss patriot, who, traditionally, lived in the early 14th century and was compelled by an Austrian governor to shoot an apple from his son's head with one shot of his crossbow. He did so without mishap
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



v. told, tell•ing. v.t.
1. to narrate or relate (a story, tale, etc.).
2. to make known (a fact, news, information, etc.); communicate.
3. to announce or proclaim.
4. to utter (the truth, a lie, etc.); speak.
5. to express in words (thoughts, feelings, etc.).
6. to reveal or divulge (something secret or private).
7. to say positively: I can't tell just when I'll be done.
8. to discern or recognize; identify: to tell twins apart.
9. to inform (a person) of something: He told me his name.
10. to order or command: Tell her to stop.
11. to enumerate; count.
12. to give an account or report.
13. to give evidence; be an indication.
14. to disclose something secret or private: Will you hate me if I tell?
15. to say positively; determine or predict: It may be the same shade, but I can't tell.
16. to produce a marked effect.
17. tell off, to rebuke severely; scold.
18. tell on, to tattle on.
tell it like it is, Informal. to be blunt and forthright.
[before 900; Middle English tellen, Old English tellan to relate, count, c. Old Frisian talia, tella, Old Saxon tellian, Old High German zellen, Old Norse telja; akin to tale]



an artificial mound consisting of the accumulated remains of one or more ancient settlements (often used in Egypt and the Middle East as part of a place name).
[1860–65; < Arabic tall hillock]



William, William Tell.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'speak'

When you speak, you use your voice to produce words. The past tense of speak is spoke. The -ed participle is spoken.

They spoke very enthusiastically about their trip.
I've spoken to Raja and he agrees with me.
2. 'say'

Don't use 'speak' to report what someone says. Don't say, for example, 'He spoke that the doctor had arrived'. Say 'He said that the doctor had arrived'.

I said that I would like to teach English.
He said it was an accident.
3. 'tell'

If you mention the person who is being spoken to as well as what was said, use tell.

He told me that he was a farmer.
I told her what the doctor had said.
See say, tell
4. 'talk'


Tell is a common verb which is used in several different ways. Its past form and -ed participle is told.

1. information

If someone tells you something, they give you some information. You usually refer to this information by using a that-clause or a wh-clause.

Tell Dad the electrician has come.
I told her what the doctor had said.

You can sometimes refer to the information that is given by using a noun phrase as the direct object of tell. When the direct object is not a pronoun, you put the indirect object first.

She told him the news.
I never told her a thing.

When the direct object is a pronoun, you usually put it first. You put to in front of the indirect object.

I've never told this to anyone else in my whole life.

When you are referring back to information that has already been mentioned, you use so after tell. For example, you say 'I didn't agree with him and I told him so'. Don't say 'I didn't agree with him and I told him it'.

She knows that I might be late. I have told her so.
'Then how do you know she's well?' – 'She told me so.'
2. stories, jokes, lies

You say that someone tells a story or a joke.

She told me the story of her life.
He's extremely funny when he tells a joke.

You can also say that someone makes or cracks a joke.

See joke

You say that someone tells a lie.

We told a lot of lies.

If someone is not lying, you say that they are telling the truth.

We knew that he was telling the truth.
I wondered why I hadn't told Mary the truth.

When you use tell to talk about stories, jokes, or lies, the indirect object can go either after the direct object or in front of it.

His friend told me this story.
Many hours had passed when Karen finished telling her story to Kim.
3. orders

If you tell someone to do something, you order or instruct them to do it. When tell has this meaning, it is followed by an object and a to-infinitive.

Tell Martha to come to my office.
They told us to put on our seat-belts.

Be Careful!
Don't use tell like this without an object. Don't say, for example, 'They told to put on our seat-belts'.

4. recognizing the truth

If you can tell what is happening or what is true, you are able to judge correctly what is happening or what is true.

I can usually tell when someone's lying to me.
I couldn't tell what they were thinking.

When tell has this meaning, you usually use can, could, or be able to with it.

5. 'inform'

Inform means the same as tell, but it is more formal, and is used in slightly different ways. You can inform someone of something, or inform someone that something is the case.

The public is informed of the financial benefits that are available.
It was his duty to inform the king that his country was in danger.

In conversation and in less formal writing, you usually use tell.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: told
Gerund: telling

I tell
you tell
he/she/it tells
we tell
you tell
they tell
I told
you told
he/she/it told
we told
you told
they told
Present Continuous
I am telling
you are telling
he/she/it is telling
we are telling
you are telling
they are telling
Present Perfect
I have told
you have told
he/she/it has told
we have told
you have told
they have told
Past Continuous
I was telling
you were telling
he/she/it was telling
we were telling
you were telling
they were telling
Past Perfect
I had told
you had told
he/she/it had told
we had told
you had told
they had told
I will tell
you will tell
he/she/it will tell
we will tell
you will tell
they will tell
Future Perfect
I will have told
you will have told
he/she/it will have told
we will have told
you will have told
they will have told
Future Continuous
I will be telling
you will be telling
he/she/it will be telling
we will be telling
you will be telling
they will be telling
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been telling
you have been telling
he/she/it has been telling
we have been telling
you have been telling
they have been telling
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been telling
you will have been telling
he/she/it will have been telling
we will have been telling
you will have been telling
they will have been telling
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been telling
you had been telling
he/she/it had been telling
we had been telling
you had been telling
they had been telling
I would tell
you would tell
he/she/it would tell
we would tell
you would tell
they would tell
Past Conditional
I would have told
you would have told
he/she/it would have told
we would have told
you would have told
they would have told
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.tell - a Swiss patriot who lived in the early 14th century and who was renowned for his skill as an archerTell - a Swiss patriot who lived in the early 14th century and who was renowned for his skill as an archer; according to legend an Austrian governor compelled him to shoot an apple from his son's head with his crossbow (which he did successfully without mishap)
Verb1.tell - express in words; "He said that he wanted to marry her"; "tell me what is bothering you"; "state your opinion"; "state your name"
present, lay out, represent - bring forward and present to the mind; "We presented the arguments to him"; "We cannot represent this knowledge to our formal reason"
misstate - state something incorrectly; "You misstated my position"
answer, reply, respond - react verbally; "She didn't want to answer"; "answer the question"; "We answered that we would accept the invitation"
preface, premise, precede, introduce - furnish with a preface or introduction; "She always precedes her lectures with a joke"; "He prefaced his lecture with a critical remark about the institution"
give tongue to, utter, express, verbalise, verbalize - articulate; either verbally or with a cry, shout, or noise; "She expressed her anger"; "He uttered a curse"
announce, declare - announce publicly or officially; "The President declared war"
enunciate, vocalise, vocalize, articulate - express or state clearly
say - state as one's opinion or judgement; declare; "I say let's forget this whole business"
get out - express with difficulty; "I managed to get out a few words"
declare - state emphatically and authoritatively; "He declared that he needed more money to carry out the task he was charged with"
declare - make a declaration (of dutiable goods) to a customs official; "Do you have anything to declare?"
note, remark, mention, observe - make mention of; "She observed that his presentation took up too much time"; "They noted that it was a fine day to go sailing"
add, append, supply - state or say further; "`It doesn't matter,' he supplied"
explain - define; "The committee explained their plan for fund-raising to the Dean"
give - convey or reveal information; "Give one's name"
sum, summarise, summarize, sum up - be a summary of; "The abstract summarizes the main ideas in the paper"
2.tell - let something be known; "Tell them that you will be late"
digress, divagate, stray, wander - lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing, thinking, or speaking; "She always digresses when telling a story"; "her mind wanders"; "Don't digress when you give a lecture"
inform - impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to; "I informed him of his rights"
bespeak, betoken, indicate, signal, point - be a signal for or a symptom of; "These symptoms indicate a serious illness"; "Her behavior points to a severe neurosis"; "The economic indicators signal that the euro is undervalued"
disclose, let on, divulge, expose, give away, let out, reveal, unwrap, discover, bring out, break - make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret; "The auction house would not disclose the price at which the van Gogh had sold"; "The actress won't reveal how old she is"; "bring out the truth"; "he broke the news to her"; "unwrap the evidence in the murder case"
talk, spill - reveal information; "If you don't oblige me, I'll talk!"; "The former employee spilled all the details"
publicize, bare, publicise, air - make public; "She aired her opinions on welfare"
ingeminate, iterate, reiterate, repeat, restate, retell - to say, state, or perform again; "She kept reiterating her request"
propagandise, propagandize - subject to propaganda
annunciate, foretell, harbinger, herald, announce - foreshadow or presage
impart, pass on, give, leave - transmit (knowledge or skills); "give a secret to the Russians"; "leave your name and address here"; "impart a new skill to the students"
brush down, tell off - reprimand; "She told the misbehaving student off"
3.tell - narrate or give a detailed account oftell - narrate or give a detailed account of; "Tell what happened"; "The father told a story to his child"
inform - impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to; "I informed him of his rights"
relate - give an account of; "The witness related the events"
crack - tell spontaneously; "crack a joke"
yarn - tell or spin a yarn
rhapsodise, rhapsodize - recite a rhapsody
4.tell - give instructions to or direct somebody to do something with authority; "I said to him to go home"; "She ordered him to do the shopping"; "The mother told the child to get dressed"
direct - command with authority; "He directed the children to do their homework"
instruct - give instructions or directions for some task; "She instructed the students to work on their pronunciation"
command, require - make someone do something
request - ask (a person) to do something; "She asked him to be here at noon"; "I requested that she type the entire manuscript"
send for, call - order, request, or command to come; "She was called into the director's office"; "Call the police!"
warn - ask to go away; "The old man warned the children off his property"
5.tell - discern or comprehend; "He could tell that she was unhappy"
guess, infer - guess correctly; solve by guessing; "He guessed the right number of beans in the jar and won the prize"
6.tell - inform positively and with certainty and confidencetell - inform positively and with certainty and confidence; "I tell you that man is a crook!"
avow, swan, swear, affirm, assert, aver, verify - to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true; "Before God I swear I am innocent"
7.tell - give evidence; "he was telling on all his former colleague"
inform - act as an informer; "She had informed on her own parents for years"
make out, discern, tell apart, spot, distinguish, pick out, recognise, recognize - detect with the senses; "The fleeing convicts were picked out of the darkness by the watchful prison guards"; "I can't make out the faces in this photograph"
8.tell - mark as different; "We distinguish several kinds of maple"
know - be able to distinguish, recognize as being different; "The child knows right from wrong"
identify, place - recognize as being; establish the identity of someone or something; "She identified the man on the 'wanted' poster"
discriminate, know apart - recognize or perceive the difference
label - distinguish (an element or atom) by using a radioactive isotope or an isotope of unusual mass for tracing through chemical reactions
label - distinguish (as a compound or molecule) by introducing a labeled atom
individualise, individualize - make or mark or treat as individual; "The sounds were individualized by sharpness and tone"
contrast - put in opposition to show or emphasize differences; "The middle school teacher contrasted her best student's work with that of her weakest student"
severalise, severalize - distinguish or separate
contradistinguish - distinguish by contrasting qualities
decouple, dissociate - regard as unconnected; "you must dissociate these two events!"; "decouple our foreign policy from ideology"
demarcate - separate clearly, as if by boundaries
discriminate, single out, separate - treat differently on the basis of sex or race
stratify - divide society into social classes or castes; "Income distribution often stratifies a society"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. inform, notify, make aware, say to, state to, warn, reveal to, express to, brief, advise, disclose to, proclaim to, fill in, speak about to, confess to, impart, alert to, divulge, announce to, acquaint with, communicate to, mention to, make known to, apprise, utter to, get off your chest (informal), let know I called her to tell her how spectacular it looked.
2. describe, relate, recount, report, portray, depict, chronicle, rehearse, narrate, give an account of He told his story to the Sunday Times.
3. instruct, order, command, direct, bid, enjoin She told me to come and help clean the house.
4. see, make out, discern, understand, discover, be certain, comprehend It was impossible to tell where the bullet had entered.
5. distinguish, discriminate, discern, differentiate, identify I can't really tell the difference between their policies and ours.
6. talk, tell tales, spill the beans (informal), give the game away, blab (informal), let the cat out of the bag (informal) The children know who they are, but they are not telling.
7. reveal, show, indicate, disclose, signify, be evidence of The facts tell a very different story.
8. have or take effect, register, weigh, have force, count, take its toll, carry weight, make its presence felt The pressure began to tell as rain closed in after 20 laps.
9. assure, promise, guarantee, swear, give someone your word I tell you, I will not rest until that day has come.
tell on someone inform on, shop (Brit. informal), give someone away, denounce, split on (informal), grass on (Brit. informal), sell someone out, stab someone in the back, tell tales on Don't worry; I won't tell on you.
tell someone off reprimand, rebuke, scold, lecture, carpet (informal), censure, reproach, berate, chide, tear into (informal), read the riot act, reprove, upbraid, take someone to task, tick someone off (informal), bawl someone out (informal), chew someone out (U.S. & Canad. informal), tear someone off a strip (Brit. informal), give someone a piece of your mind, haul someone over the coals (informal), give someone a rocket (Brit. & N.Z. informal) He never listened to us when we told him off.
tell something apart differentiate between, distinguish between, discriminate between, make a distinction between, separate, set apart It is difficult to tell the two products apart.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. To give a verbal account of:
2. To put into words:
Idiom: give tongue to.
4. To disclose in a breach of confidence:
Informal: spill.
Archaic: discover.
5. To impart information to:
6. To give orders to:
7. To recognize as being different:
8. To note (items) one by one so as to get a total:
phrasal verb
tell off
Informal. To reprimand loudly or harshly:
Idioms: give hell to, give it to.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
يَأْمُرُيُخْبِريُخْبِرُيَرْوي، يَقُصيَطْلُب، يأمُر
hatása van
greina , segja til umsegjasegja frásegja til sín, hafa áhrifsegja/greina
구별하다시키다(...에게) 이야기하다
apibartiar aš nesakiau?iš kur galķ žinotiišdavikiškaską gali žinoti
atklāt noslēpumuatklātiesatšķirtizpaustiesizpļāpāt
poznať savykladať
berättasäga åt
söylemekuyarmakaçığa vurmakanlatmakayırt etmek


[tel] (told (pt, pp))
1. [+ story, experiences] → contar; [+ truth] → decir; [+ secret] → contar, divulgar (frm); (formally) → comunicar, informar
to tell sb sthdecir algo a algn
to tell sb whether/how/whydecir a algn si/cómo/por qué
to tell sb thatdecir a algn que ...
I have been told thatme han dicho que ..., se me ha dicho que ... (frm)
I am pleased to tell you that (frm) → me complace comunicarle que ..., me es grato comunicarle que ...
I tell you it isn't!¡te digo que no!
let me tell you, I didn't enjoy itsi te digo la verdad, no me gustó nada
there were three, I tell you, threehabía tres, ¿me oyes?, tres
I tell myself it can't be truedigo para mí que no puede ser verdad
I told him about the missing moneyle dije lo del dinero que faltaba, le informé acerca del dinero que faltaba (frm)
tell me all about itcuéntame todo
I'll tell you all about itte (lo) diré todo
tell me another!¡cuéntaselo a tu abuela!
he's no saint, I can tell you!¡no es ningún santo, te lo aseguro!
so much happened that I can't begin to tell youpasaron tantas cosas no sé por dónde empezar a contarte
I cannot tell you how pleased I amno encuentro palabras para expresarle lo contento que estoy
I could tell you a thing or two about himhay cosas de él que yo me sé
don't tell me you can't do it!¡no me vayas a decir or no me digas que no lo puedes hacer!
to tell sb's fortune, tell sb the futuredecir a algn la buenaventura
to tell a liementir
you're telling me!¡a quién se lo cuentas!, ¡a mí no me lo vas a contar!
I told you so!¡ya lo decía yo!
didn't I tell you so?¿no te lo dije ya?
(I) tell you what, let's go nowsabes qué, vámonos ya
I tell you what!¡se me ocurre una idea!
see also marine
2. (= order) to tell sb to do sthdecir a algn que haga algo, mandar a algn a hacer algo
do as you are told!¡haz lo que te digo!
he won't be toldno acepta consejos de nadie, no quiere hacer caso de nadie
I told you not tote dije que no lo hicieras
3. (= indicate) [sign, dial, clock] → indicar
to tell sb sthindicar algo a algn
there was a sign telling us which way to gouna señal nos indicaba el camino
the clock tells the quarter hoursel reloj da los cuartos de hora
4. (= distinguish) → distinguir
I couldn't tell them apartno sabía distinguirlos
to tell the difference between A and Bdistinguir entre A y B
I can't tell the differenceno veo la diferencia
to tell right from wrongdistinguir el bien del mal
see also time A5
5. (= know, be certain) → saber
you can tell he's a Germanse (le) nota que es alemán
you can tell a horse's age by its teethla edad de un caballo se sabe por los dientes
how can I tell what she will do?¿cómo voy a saber lo que ella hará?
you can't tell much from his lettersu carta nos dice bien poco
I couldn't tell how it was doneno sabía cómo se hizo
there is no telling what he will does imposible saber qué va a hacer
6. (= count) to tell one's beadsrezar el rosario
400 all told400 en total
1. (= speak) to tell (of)hablar de
the ruins told of a sad historylas ruinas hablaban de una triste historia
"did you love her?" - "more than words can tell"-¿la amabas? -más de lo que pueda expresar con palabras
it hurt more than words can telldolió una barbaridad, dolió lo indecible
I hear tell thatdicen que ...
I hear tell of a disasterhe oído que ha ocurrido una catástrofe
I have never heard tell of itno he oído nunca hablar de eso
2. (= sneak, tell secrets) please don't tell!¡no vayas contándolo or soplándolo por ahí!
he told on me to my parentsse chivó de mí a mis padres (Sp)
that would be telling!¡es un secreto!
3. (= know, be certain) → saber
how can I tell?¿cómo lo voy a saber?, ¿yo qué sé?
I can't tell(me) es imposible saberlo, no le puedo decir, no sabría decirle
who can tell?¿quién sabe?
there is no tellingno se puede saber
you never can tellnunca se sabe
see also time A1
4. (= have an effect) every blow toldcada golpe tuvo su efecto
stamina tells in the long runa la larga importa or vale más la resistencia
blood will tellla sangre cuenta
to tell against sbobrar en contra de algn
the strain is beginning to tell on himla tensión está empezando a afectarle
tell off VT + ADV
1. (= order) → ordenar, mandar
2. to tell sb off (for sth/for doing sth)regañar a algn (por algo/por haber hecho algo)
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈtɛl] [told] [ˈtəʊld] (pt, pp)
(= give information to) → dire
to tell sb sth → dire qch à qn
Did you tell your mother? → Tu l'as dit à ta mère?
I had told her what he had done → Je lui avais dit ce qu'il avait fait.
BUT Je lui avais raconté ce qu'il avait fait.
to tell sb the news → apprendre la nouvelle à qn
They told us the news → Ils nous ont appris la nouvelle.
to tell sb (that) ... → dire à qn que ...
I told him that I was going on holiday → Je lui ai dit que je partais en vacances.
to tell sb about sth [+ place, object, happening] → parler de qch à qn
to tell sb of sth → parler à qn de qch
to tell sb how to do sth → dire à qn comment faire qch, expliquer à qn comment faire qch
I told her how to do it → Je lui ai dit comment faire., Je lui ai expliqué comment faire.
to tell sb why ... → dire à qn pourquoi ..., expliquer à qn pourquoi ...
I told you so → je te l'avais bien dit
(making a suggestion) I tell you what ... → écoute, ...
(emphatic) I can't tell you
I can't tell you how glad I was to leave that place → Tu ne peux pas t'imaginer comme j'étais content de partir de là.
I can't tell you how much we love this city → Tu ne peux pas t'imaginer combien nous aimons cette ville., Tu ne peux pas t'imaginer à quel point nous aimons cette ville.
(= relate) [+ story] → raconter; [+ joke] → raconter; [+ a lie, the truth] → dire
Will you tell me a story? → Est-ce que tu peux me raconter une histoire?
He told his story to the Sunday Times → Il a raconté son histoire au Sunday Times.
(= order) → dire
to tell sb to do sth → dire à qn de faire qch
He told me to wait a moment → Il m'a dit d'attendre un instant.
Don't tell me what to do → Tu n'as pas à me dire ce que j'ai à faire.
just do as you're told → fais ce qu'on te dit
(= judge, know) → savoir
to be able to tell what ...
You never can tell what life is going to bring you → On ne peut jamais savoir ce que la vie nous réserve.
I couldn't tell what they were thinking → Je ne savais pas ce qu'ils pensaient.
to be able to tell (that) ...
You can tell he's joking → On voit bien qu'il plaisante.
there's no telling ... → il est impossible de savoir ...
There's no telling what he might do next → Il est impossible de savoir ce qu'il est capable de faire ensuite.
(= distinguish) to tell the difference (between two people, things)distinguer
I can't tell the difference between them → Je n'arrive pas à les distinguer.
to tell sth from sth → distinguer qch de qch
(= show) [facts, evidence]
The facts tell us that this is not true → Les faits montrent que cela n'est pas vrai.
(= give away secret)
She won't tell → Elle ne dira rien à personne.
(= have effect) → se faire sentir
The pressure began to tell → La pression commença à se faire sentir.
(= judge) → savoir
as far as I can tell → autant que je sache, pour autant que je sache, pour autant que je puisse en juger
you never can tell → on ne sait jamais
tell apart
vt sep (= distinguish) → distinguer
I can't tell them apart → Je n'arrive pas à les distinguer.
tell off
vt sepgronder
to tell sb off for doing sth → gronder qn pour avoir fait qch
to get told off → se faire gronder
tell on
vt fus
(= inform against) → cafarder
(= have an effect on) → affecter
The late nights were beginning to tell on my health → Les soirées tardives commençaient à affecter ma santé.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


pret, ptp <told>
(= relate) story, experiences, adventureserzählen (→ sb sth, sth to sb jdm etw acc); (= inform, say, announce)sagen (→ sb sth jdm etw acc); to tell lieslügen; to tell talespetzen (inf); to tell fortuneswahrsagen; to tell somebody’s fortunejdm wahrsagen, jdm die Zukunft deuten; to tell the futurewahrsagen, die Zukunft deuten; to tell somebody a secretjdm ein Geheimnis anvertrauen or (give away) → verraten; to tell somebody about or of somethingjdm von etw erzählen; I told my friend/boss about what had happenedich erzählte meinem Freund/berichtete meinem Chef, was geschehen war; … or so I’ve been told… so hat man es mir jedenfalls gesagt or erzählt; I can’t tell you how pleased I amich kann Ihnen gar nicht sagen, wie sehr ich mich freue; you can’t tell her anything (= she can’t keep a secret)man kann ihr (aber auch) nichts sagen or anvertrauen; (= she’s a know-all)sie lässt sich (dat)nichts sagen; to tell somebody the wayjdm den Weg sagen; could you tell me the way to the station, please?könn(t)en Sir mir bitte sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme?; don’t let me have to tell you that againich will dir das nicht noch einmal sagen müssen; (I’ll) tell you what, let’s go to the cinemaweißt du was, gehen wir doch ins Kino!; don’t tell me you can’t come!sagen Sie bloß nicht, dass Sie nicht kommen können!; I won’t do it, I tell you!und ich sage dir, das mache ich nicht!; let me tell you that …ich kann Ihnen sagen, dass …, lassen Sie sich von mir sagen, dass …; it was cold, I can tell youich kann dir sagen, das war vielleicht kalt!; I told you soich habe es (dir) ja gesagt; tell me another!nicht möglich!, wers glaubt! (inf); that tells me all I need to knowdas sagt mir alles; that tells me a lotdas sagt mir allerlei
(= distinguish, discern)erkennen; to tell the timedie Uhr kennen; to tell the time by the sundie Zeit an der Sonne ablesen; to tell the differenceden Unterschied sehen/fühlen/schmecken etc; you can tell that he’s clever/getting worriedman sieht or merkt, dass er intelligent ist/sich Sorgen macht; we couldn’t tell much from his letterwir konnten aus seinem Brief nicht viel entnehmen; you can’t tell whether it’s movingman kann nicht sagen or sehen, ob es sich bewegt; I couldn’t tell if he had been in a fight or had just fallenich hätte nicht sagen können, ob er in einem Kampf verwickelt oder nur hingefallen war; it was impossible to tell where the bullet had enteredes war unmöglich festzustellen, wo die Kugel eingetreten war; to tell somebody/something by somethingjdn/etw an etw (dat)erkennen; I can’t tell butter from margarineich kann Butter nicht von Margarine unterscheiden; to tell right from wrongwissen, was Recht und Unrecht ist, Recht von Unrecht unterscheiden ? apart
(= know, be sure)wissen; how can I tell that?wie soll ich das wissen?; how could I tell that?wie hätte ich das wissen können?; how can I tell that he will do it?wie kann ich sicher sein, dass er es tut?
(= order)sagen (sb jdm); we were told to bring sandwiches with uses wurde uns gesagt, dass wir belegte Brote mitbringen sollten; tell him to stop singingsagen Sie ihm, er soll aufhören zu singen; don’t you tell me what to do!Sie haben mir nicht zu sagen, was ich tun soll!; I told you not to do thatich habe dir doch gesagt, du sollst das nicht tun!; do as or what you are told!tu, was man dir sagt!
(old: = count) to tell one’s beadsden Rosenkranz beten
vi +indir objes sagen (+dat); I won’t tell you againich sage es dir nicht noch einmal; you know what? — don’t tell me, let me guessweißt du was? — sags mir nicht, lass mich raten; she wouldn’t be toldsie hat sich (ja) nichts sagen lassen; you’re telling me!das kann man wohl sagen!, wem sagen Sie das!
(= discern, be sure)wissen; as or so far as one can tellsoweit man weiß; who can tell?wer weiß?; how can I tell? (= how should I know)woher soll ich das wissen?; how will I be able to tell?wie kann ich das erkennen or wissen?; no-one can/could tellniemand kann/konnte das sagen, das weiß/wusste keiner; you never can tell, you can never tellman kann nie wissen
(= talk, tell tales of)sprechen; his face told of his sorrowaus seinem Gesicht sprach Kummer; that would be telling!das kann ich nicht verraten; promise you won’t telldu musst versprechen, dass du nichts sagst
(= have effect)sich bemerkbar machen; his age told against him (in applying for job) → sein Alter war ein Nachteil für ihn; (in competition) → sein Alter machte sich bemerkbar; character always tells in the endzum Schluss schlägt doch die Veranlagung durch; a boxer who makes every punch tellein Boxer, bei dem jeder Schlag sitzt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[tɛl] (told (pt, pp))
1. vt
a. (gen) → dire; (story, adventure, relate) → raccontare; (secret) → svelare
to tell sb sth → dire qc a qn
to tell sb about sth → dire a qn di qc, raccontare qc a qn
I have been told that ... → mi è stato detto che...
I am glad to tell you that ... (frm) → ho il piacere di comunicarle che...
I cannot tell you how pleased I am → non so come esprimere la mia felicità
so much happened that I can't begin to tell you → sono successe tante cose che non saprei da dove incominciare a raccontarti
(I'll) tell you what ... → so io che cosa fare...
I told you so!, didn't I tell you so? → te l'avevo (pur) detto!
I was furious, I can tell you → ti dirò che ero furioso
let me tell you → credimi
you're telling me! (fam) → a me lo dici!, lo vieni a dire a me!
don't tell me you can't do it! → non starmi a raccontare che non sei capace!
tell me another! (fam) → raccontala giusta!
to tell the time → leggere l'ora
can you tell me the time? → puoi dirmi l'ora?
to tell the future/sb's fortune → predire il futuro/il futuro a qn
b. (order, instruct) to tell sb to do sthdire a qn di fare qc
do as you are told! → fai come ti si dice!
he won't be told → non dà ascolto
c. (indicate, subj, sign, dial) to tell sb sthindicare qc a qn
there was a sign telling us which way to go → c'era un cartello che ci indicava la strada
d. (know, be sure of) → sapere
how can you tell what he'll do? → come fai a prevedere cosa farà?
there's no telling what may happen → non si può prevedere cosa succederà
you can tell he's unhappy → si vede che è infelice
e. (distinguish) to tell sth fromdistinguere qc da
to tell right from wrong → distinguere il bene dal male
I couldn't tell them apart → non riuscivo a distinguerli
f. 400 all told400 in tutto
2. vi
a. (talk) → parlare (fam) (sneak, tell secrets) → fare la spia
to tell (of) → parlare (di)
more than words can tell → più di quanto non riescano ad esprimere le parole
that would be telling! → non te lo dico!
b. (know, be certain) → sapere
I can't tell → non saprei dire
who can tell? → chi lo può dire?
there is no telling → non si sa
you never can tell → non si può mai dire
c. (have effect) → farsi sentire, avere effetto
to tell against sb → ritorcersi contro qn
the strain is beginning to tell → la fatica incomincia a farsi sentire
their lack of fitness began to tell → incominciavano a risentire della mancanza di forma
tell off vt + adv (fam) to tell sb off (for sth/for doing sth)sgridare qn (per qc/per aver fatto qc)
tell on vi + prep (fam) (inform against) → denunciare
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(tel) past tense, past participle told (tould) verb
1. to inform or give information to (a person) about (something). He told the whole story to John; He told John about it.
2. to order or command; to suggest or warn. I told him to go away.
3. to say or express in words. to tell lies / the truth / a story.
4. to distinguish; to see (a difference); to know or decide. Can you tell the difference between them?; I can't tell one from the other; You can tell if the meat is cooked by/from the colour.
5. to give away a secret. You mustn't tell or we'll get into trouble.
6. to be effective; to be seen to give (good) results. Good teaching will always tell.
ˈteller noun
1. a person who receives or pays out money over the counter at a bank.
2. a person who tells (stories). a story-teller.
ˈtelling adjective
having a great effect. a telling argument.
ˈtellingly adverb
ˈtelltale adjective
giving information (often which a person would not wish to be known). the telltale signs of guilt.
I told you so
I told or warned you that this would happen, had happened etc, and I was right. `I told you so, but you wouldn't believe me.
tell off to scold: The teacher used to tell me off for not doing my homework ( ˌtelling-ˈoff: He gave me a good telling-off) noun
tell on
1. to have a bad effect on. Smoking began to tell on his health.
2. to give information about (a person, usually if they are doing something wrong). I'm late for work – don't tell on me!
tell tales
to give away secret or private information about the (usually wrong) actions of others. You must never tell tales.
tell the time
to (be able to) know what time it is by looking at a clock etc or by any other means. He can tell the time from the position of the sun; Could you tell me the time, please?
there's no telling
it is impossible to know. There's no telling what he'll do!
you never can tell
it is possible. It might rain – you never can tell.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


يَأْمُرُ, يُخْبِرُ, يَعْرِفُ nařídit, poznat, říci fortælle, se, sige befehlen, erzählen, sagen λέω contar, decir, ordenar, saber käskeä, kertoa dire, dire de, raconter narediti, reći, uočavati capire, dire, raccontare ・・・と分かる, ・・・と命令する, 告げる 구별하다, 시키다, (...에게) 이야기하다 merken, vertellen, zeggen be, fortelle, se kazać, powiedzieć contar, dizer, perceber, saber говорить, приказать, сказать berätta, säga åt บอก, สั่งให้ทำ söylemek bảo, kể 吩咐, 告诉, 看出
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


vi. decir; relatar, contar.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
"I shall have something to tell you in the orchard this evening," said the Story Girl at breakfast one morning.
I do, and I can tell you it is not a bad study, and gives you more trouble than you can well fancy if you have never tried it.
And the minstrel who had a good tale to tell was ever sure of a welcome, and for his pains he was rewarded with money, jewels, and even land.
Tell her I am on my way to the station, to leave for San Francisco, where I shall join that Alaska moose-hunting expedition.
Now I am going to tell you all I can about them, because I know that is what you most want to hear.
Now, Grandfather remembered that Charley had galloped away upon a stick in the midst of the narrative of poor Lady Arbella, and I know not whether he would have thought it worth while to tell another story merely to gratify such an inattentive auditor as Charley.
"I sha'n't tell you just yet--not till I see if I can bring the thing about."
I am entirely of your opinion; but I must tell you that if you should preach such doctrine in Spain or Italy, they would put you into the Inquisition."--"It may be so," said he; "I know not what they would do in Spain or Italy; but I will not say they would be the better Christians for that severity; for I am sure there is no heresy in abounding with charity."
Another one might tell us something new to do--to help you get well faster, you know."
'Well, it's very good of you to have bothered to come out and tell me,' said Lady Wetherby.
The bird replied, "My good master, the lightning, thunder and rain disturbed me so much all night long, that I cannot tell you what I have suffered."
All we have any right to do is to tell you what the doctor says.