English dictionary

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English noun: Tell

1. Tell (person) 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)

SynonymsWilliam Tell

Instance hypernymarcher, bowman

English verb: tell

1. tell (communication) express in words

SamplesHe said that he wanted to marry her.
Tell me what is bothering you.
State your opinion.
State your name.

ExamplesThey tell that there was a traffic accident

Synonymssay, state

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something.
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE

Broader (hypernym)express, give tongue to, utter, verbalise, verbalize

Narrower (hyponym)add, announce, answer, append, articulate, declare, declare, declare, enunciate, explain, get out, give, introduce, lay out, mention, misstate, note, observe, precede, preface, premise, present, remark, reply, represent, respond, sum, sum up, summarise, summarize, supply, vocalise, vocalize

Verb groupsay

2. tell (communication) let something be known

SamplesTell them that you will be late.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s that CLAUSE

Broader (hypernym)inform

Narrower (hyponym)air, announce, annunciate, bare, bespeak, betoken, break, bring out, digress, disclose, discover, divagate, divulge, expose, foretell, give, give away, harbinger, herald, impart, indicate, ingeminate, iterate, leave, let on, let out, pass on, point, propagandise, propagandize, publicise, publicize, reiterate, repeat, restate, retell, reveal, signal, spill, stray, talk, unwrap, wander

3. tell (communication) narrate or give a detailed account of

SamplesTell what happened.
The father told a story to his child.

ExamplesThey won't tell the story

Synonymsnarrate, recite, recount

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody something.
Somebody ----s something to somebody

Broader (hypernym)inform

Narrower (hyponym)crack, relate, rhapsodise, rhapsodize, yarn

4. tell (communication) give instructions to or direct somebody to do something with authority

SamplesI said to him to go home.
She ordered him to do the shopping.
The mother told the child to get dressed.

ExamplesThey tell him to write the letter

Synonymsenjoin, order, say

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody to INFINITIVE.
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE

Broader (hypernym)request

Narrower (hyponym)call, command, direct, instruct, require, send for, warn

5. tell (cognition) discern or comprehend

SamplesHe could tell that she was unhappy.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s.
Somebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE

Broader (hypernym)guess, infer

6. tell (communication) inform positively and with certainty and confidence

SamplesI tell you that man is a crook!.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody of something.
Somebody ----s that CLAUSE

Broader (hypernym)affirm, assert, aver, avow, swan, swear, verify

7. tell (communication) give evidence

SamplesHe was telling on all his former colleague.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s

Broader (hypernym)inform

8. tell (cognition) mark as different

SamplesWe distinguish several kinds of maple.

Synonymsdifferentiate, distinguish, secern, secernate, separate, severalise, severalize, tell apart

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody.
Somebody ----s something from somebody

Broader (hypernym)identify, place

Narrower (hyponym)contradistinguish, contrast, decouple, demarcate, discriminate, discriminate, dissociate, individualise, individualize, know, know apart, label, label, separate, severalise, severalize, sex, single out, stratify


Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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