Share this entry

telltale Line breaks: tell|tale
Pronunciation: /ˈtɛlteɪl/

Definition of telltale in English:


Revealing, indicating, or betraying something: the telltale bulge of a concealed weapon
More example sentences
  • Most people who lose weight from only dieting develop telltale signs of this, by having a lot of loose skin, as opposed to the well-toned, firm body of someone who is eating correctly and exercising.
  • Then he notes the telltale faint imprints of claws.
  • That telltale pressure is one of the hallmarks of acute sinusitis.


Back to top  
1British A person, especially a child, who reports others' wrongdoings or reveals their secrets.
Example sentences
  • I don't recommend this because it is a one-way process that can't be undone and nobody likes telltales.
  • I guess being pirates we don't like telltales.
North American tattletale
informal blabbermouth, blabber, loud mouth, snitch, squealer
British informal sneak
Scottish informal clype
Australian/New Zealand informal pimp
dated talebearer
2A device or object that automatically gives a visual indication of the state or presence of something.
Example sentences
  • Additional reinforcement was provided by a pair of 1/2-inch diameter, black iron pipes which were used as telltales.
  • He said the only area of movement he had been able to detect was where the balcony was attached to the front wall, but suggested telltales should be cemented across the cracks to see if they were getting worse.

Words that rhyme with telltale


Definition of telltale in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly