(especially in poker) an unconscious action that is thought to betray an attempted deception.
1 [reporting verb] communicate information to someone in spoken or written words: [with object and clause]:I told her you were coming [with object and direct speech]:‘We have nothing in common,’ she told him [with object]:he’s telling the truth [with two objects]:we must be told the facts
[with object and infinitive] order or advise someone to do something:tell him to go away
[with object] relate (a story):he tried to make the children laugh by telling jokes [with two objects]:tell me the story again
[with object] reveal (information) to someone in a non-verbal way:the figures tell a different story [with two objects]:the smile on her face told him everything
[no object] divulge confidential or private information:promise you won’t tell
[no object] (tell on) informal inform someone of the misdemeanours of:friends don’t tell on each other
2 [with clause] decide or determine correctly or with certainty:you can tell they’re in loveI couldn’t tell if he believed me
[with object and adverbial] perceive (the difference between one person or thing and another):I can’t tell the difference between margarine and butter
3 [no object] (of an experience or period of time) have a noticeable, typically harmful, effect on someone:the strain of supporting the family was beginning to tell on him
(of a particular factor) play a part in the success or otherwise of someone or something:lack of fitness told against him on his first run of the season
4 archaic count (the members of a group):the shepherd had told all his sheep
as far as one can tell
judging from the available information:the work will take about six weeks, as far as I can tell
I tell you (or I can tell you)
used to emphasize a statement:that took me by surprise, I can tell you!
I (or I'll) tell you what
used to introduce a suggestion:I tell you what, why don’t we meet for lunch tomorrow?
I told you (so)
used to point out that one’s warnings, although ignored, have been proved to be well founded.