1. To mention one by one, or piece by piece; to recount; to enumerate; to reckon; to number; to count; as, to tell money. "An heap of coin he told." Spenser.
"He telleth the number of the stars." -- Ps. cxlvii. 4.
"Tell the joints of the body." -- Jer. Taylor.
2. To utter or recite in detail; to give an account of; to narrate.
"Of which I shall tell all the array." -- Chaucer.
"And not a man appears to tell their fate." -- Pope.
3. To make known; to publish; to disclose; to divulge.
"Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?" -- Gen. xii. 18.
4. To give instruction to; to make report to; to acquaint; to teach; to inform.
"A secret pilgrimage, That you to-day promised to tell me of?" -- Shak.
5. To order; to request; to command.
"He told her not to be frightened." -- Dickens.
6. To discern so as to report; to ascertain by observing; to find out; to discover; as, I can not tell where one color ends and the other begins.
7. To make account of; to regard; to reckon; to value; to estimate. [Obs.]
"I ne told no dainity of her love." -- Chaucer.
Tell, though equivalent in some respect to speak and say, has not always the same application. We say, to tell truth or falsehood, to tell a number, to tell the reasons, to tell something or nothing; but we never say, to tell a speech, discourse, or oration, or to tell an argument or a lesson. It is much used in commands; as, tell me the whole story; tell me all you know.
To tell off
to count; to divide. Sir W. Scott.
Syn. -- To communicate; impart; reveal; disclose; inform; acquaint; report; repeat; rehearse; recite.