Synonyms of tell in English:


See definition of tell


1‘why didn't you tell me about this before?’


inform, let know, notify, apprise, make aware, mention something to, acquaint with, advise, put in the picture, brief, fill in, break the news to

alert, warn, forewarn

informal clue in

2‘I hope you are telling the truth’


speak, utter, say, voice, state, declare

communicate, make known, impart, divulge, announce, proclaim, broadcast

relate, recount, narrate, give an account of, set forth, unfold, retail, report, chronicle, recite, rehearse, describe, portray, sketch, delineate, depict, paint, weave, spin

3‘Corbett told him to leave’


instruct, order, give orders, command, direct, charge, enjoin, call on, require

literary bid

4‘I tell you, I did nothing wrong’


assure, promise, give someone one's word, swear, guarantee

dated warrant

5‘the figures tell a different story’


reveal, show, be evidence of, give evidence of, disclose, indicate, convey, signify

display, exhibit

6‘promise you won't tell?’


give the game away, talk, tell tales, open one's mouth, tattle

informal spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, blab

British informal blow the gaff


keep a secret

7‘he was afraid she would tell on him’


inform against, inform on, tell tales on, give away, denounce, sell out, stab someone in the back

informal split on, blow the whistle on, rat on, peach on, squeal on, squeak on, stitch up, do the dirty on, sell down the river

British informal grass on, sneak on, shop

North American informal rat out, drop a dime on, drop the dime on, finger

NZ Australian informal dob on, pimp on, pool, shelf, put someone's pot on

rare delate

8‘it was hard to tell what he was thinking’


ascertain, decide, determine, work out, make out, deduce, discern, perceive, see, identify, recognize, understand, comprehend

be sure, be certain

informal figure out, get a fix on

British informal suss out

9‘he didn't look as if he could tell a Renoir from a Renault’


distinguish, differentiate, tell apart, discriminate

10‘the strain of supporting the family was beginning to tell on him’


take its toll on, leave its mark on, have an adverse effect on, affect


    tell someone off

      ‘my parents told me off for coming home late’


      reprimand, rebuke, reproach, scold, admonish, reprove, remonstrate with, chastise, chide, upbraid, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the Riot Act, give someone a piece of one's mind, haul over the coals, criticize, censure

      give someone a talking-to, give someone a telling-off, dress down, give someone a dressing-down, give someone an earful, give someone a roasting, give someone a rocket, give someone a rollicking, rap, rap someone over the knuckles, slap someone's wrist, let someone have it, bawl out, give someone hell, come down on, blow up, pitch into, lay into, lace into, give someone a caning, blast, rag, keelhaul


      tick off, have a go at, carpet, monster, give someone a mouthful, tear someone off a strip, give someone what for, wig, give someone a wigging, give someone a row, row

      North American

      chew out, ream out

      British vulgar slang

      bollock, give someone a bollocking

      North American vulgar slang

      chew someone's ass, ream someone's ass


      call down, rate, give someone a rating, trim


      reprehend, objurgate