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Tell on   /tɛl ɑn/   Listen
Tell on

verb
1.
Give away information about somebody.  Synonyms: betray, denounce, give away, grass, rat, shit, shop, snitch, stag.
2.
Produce an effect or strain on somebody.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Tell on" Quotes from Famous Books



... Why, a man's thoughts are like actors performing in the air and all the crowding stars for audience! You know in your soul you'd rather have me out there, going it all by myself, than raising thunder over town. And you know, too, it doesn't tell on me; it doesn't show! You couldn't guess, to save your life, how much I've had to-day, ...
— The Two Vanrevels • Booth Tarkington

... right," assented the orator, moving away from the luckless Seuthes as from a pawn no longer important in the game of life and death. "The whole of the wretched story I fear I must tell on the Bema to all Athens. I must be brief, but believe me, I can make good all I say. Since my return from the Isthmia, I have been observed to be sad. Rightly—for knowing Glaucon as I did, I grew suspicious, and I loved him. You have thought me not diligent in hunting down the ...
— A Victor of Salamis • William Stearns Davis

... gave himself up. "It was I who damaged the machine the first time. But not after that. Now you will have to tell on me, Hoeflinger. Did you not know it? Why am ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries - Masterpieces of German Literature Vol. 19 • Various

... quite ill to look at it. Yet, being devoted to his father and wanting to do anything rather than give him pain, he had not been able to bring himself to store the thing in the cellar, and the strain of confronting the picture three times a day had begun to tell on him to such an extent that Elizabeth felt ...
— My Man Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... The Seraph, stroking the caterpillar the wrong way, and then looking at his fingers, "I fink that he's witin' to father to tell on you. So there!" ...
— Explorers of the Dawn • Mazo de la Roche

... at the supper-table the personification of quiet geniality, but Amy thought she had never seen him look so hollow-eyed. The long strain was beginning to tell on him, decidedly, and to-night he felt as if he had received a mortal blow. But with indomitable courage he hid his wound, and seemed absorbed in a conversation with Leonard and his father about the different varieties of apples, ...
— Nature's Serial Story • E. P. Roe

... who read to the others when no one else could; it was Bridget who remembered some wonderful story to tell on those days when Sandy's back was particularly bad or the Apostles grew over-despondent; and it was Bridget who laughed and sang on the gray days when the sun refused to be cheery. Undoubtedly it was because of all these things that her cot was in ...
— The Primrose Ring • Ruth Sawyer

... change, ma'am. It's too dull for anybody staying in town at this season; and it's beginning to tell on your nerves, ma'am," was the ...
— Four Ghost Stories • Mrs. Molesworth

... wasn't intending to," Herbert responded gloomily; and the thought of each, unknown to the other, was the same, consisting of a symbolic likeness of Wallie Torbin at his worst. "I ought to tell on Florence; by rights I ought," said Herbert; "but I've decided I won't. There's no tellin' what she wouldn't do. Not that she could do anything to ...
— Gentle Julia • Booth Tarkington

... There was much to tell on both sides before we could properly discuss the grand object of my coming, and our time was a good deal taken up by a constant succession of visitors; not dogs or cats, as might have been expected, but boys and girls, men and women, friends of the servants, all pouring ...
— Cat and Dog - Memoirs of Puss and the Captain • Julia Charlotte Maitland

... Rachel jes' like dey curtsy to Missy. I mind de time her husband, Uncle Jim, git mad and hit her over de head with de poker. A big knot raise up on Aunt Rachel's head and when Marse 'quire 'bout it, she say she done bump de head. She dassn't tell on Uncle Jim or Marse sho' beat him. Marse sho' proud dem black, slick chillen of Rachels. You couldn't find a yaller chile on he place. He sho' got no use for ...
— Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves - Texas Narratives, Part 1 • Works Projects Administration

... ask you to tell on your companions," Dr. Mead went on sternly. "There must have been several of them. If they choose to come forward and admit their part, well and good. I will go no further with this, since the chief culprit is known. Ranger, you are fully vindicated, ...
— Jack Ranger's Western Trip - From Boarding School to Ranch and Range • Clarence Young

... tell on a girl, sir," he answered, and then his smothered injury burst forth; "but she ought to be ashamed ...
— The Battle Ground • Ellen Glasgow

... matches there—by his order. The steward had his instructions impressed upon him long before. "A box . . . just there, see? Not so very full . . . where I can put my hand on it, steward. Might want a light in a hurry. Can't tell on board ship what you might want ...
— Typhoon • Joseph Conrad

... separate cover. He also made his will and left you his mining claims, all merely prospects so far. He says you know how he came to feel as he does about Brown and Fowler. However that may be, it certainly is the dirtiest story I ever heard one man tell on others and, dying though he was, I begged Curly to let me tear the paper up and let the story go into the grave with him. But he held me to my promise, so I'm sending it to you, with this apology for contaminating either of ...
— The Enchanted Canyon • Honore Willsie Morrow

... really hunted. The woman shrank back toward the door through which she had come, her face grew a sort of grayish color; and then ran to me and throwing herself on her knees, she took hold of my hands, and begged me for God's sake not to tell on her, not to have her carried back, not to fix it so she'd be sold down the river ...
— Vandemark's Folly • Herbert Quick

... trowe ye? suich a fantasye Fell me to mynd, that ay me-thoght the bell Said to me: "Tell on, ...
— A Literary History of the English People - From the Origins to the Renaissance • Jean Jules Jusserand

... No! no! It's simply the country town beginning to tell on him. He is curious about new guests, and Miss Carrington hadn't mentioned your coming! He suggested, in a vague sort of way, that there was something familiar about you, but he didn't attempt to particularize. It ...
— In Her Own Right • John Reed Scott

... she was sick, and there was heart-breakin' things all the while comin' to pass; but I'd rather not tell on 'em. ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867 • Various

... tales on Mist' Sandy. But yer can't fool dis heah ole nigger. I mind de signs; I knows mo' 'bout de young folks in dis heah town den dey t'ink I do. Fust t'ing you know, I'm gwine tell on some ob 'em, too. I 'spect de doctor would put' near die ef he knowed dat Miss Annette was a-havin' incandescent meetin's wif Carter ...
— Sandy • Alice Hegan Rice

... on the spur of the moment to fight any number of Grizzlies of any size, still the continual apprehension, the knowledge that he must hold himself ready at any moment to fight this young monster, weighed on his spirits and began to tell on his general health. ...
— The Biography of a Grizzly • Ernest Seton-Thompson

... a long discussion, and Bob and Frank were content to do as Mr. Temple proposed. Jack, perforce, agreed, although the strain of the last few days, which he had carried alone, was beginning to tell on him and he yearned for instant action. He showed the others to their rooms, Bob and Mr. Temple sharing Mr. Hampton's room, and Frank bunking ...
— The Radio Boys on the Mexican Border • Gerald Breckenridge

... question arises, by what signs or indications these various facts are perceived. Often, as we have seen, the fact is by no means fully presented to the senses, and often it is far from easy for the perceiver to tell on what signs the perception depends. He knows the fact, but how he knows it he cannot tell. A large part of the very extensive experimental investigation of perception has been concerned with this problem of ferreting out the signs on which the various perceptions are based, the precise stimuli ...
— Psychology - A Study Of Mental Life • Robert S. Woodworth

... still, looking very pale and troubled. Rosamund, seeing that no answer could be expected immediately, sank on the nearest chair. She was now deadly tired; her night of absolute want of rest, added to the excitement which she had lived through, was beginning to tell on her; and, strong as she was, she turned white as death. It was that look on her face which first ...
— A Modern Tomboy - A Story for Girls • L. T. Meade

... suspicion! If I wanted to tell on him I should have told long ago. I don't tell and I don't tell, and he ought to feel at his ease. As if anything so gross and fat as he could feel at ease! Who would believe me if I ...
— Twelve Stories and a Dream • H. G. Wells

... by Tourville for the fleet— 5 A poor coasting pilot he, Herve Riel the Croisickese. And "What mockery or malice have we here?" cries Herve Riel. "Are you mad, you Malouins? Are you cowards, fools, or rogues? 10 Talk to me of rocks and shoals, me who took the soundings, tell On my fingers every bank, every shallow, every swell, 'Twixt the offing here and Greve where the river disembogues? 15 Are you bought by English gold? Is it love the lying's for? Morn and eve, night ...
— Story Hour Readings: Seventh Year • E.C. Hartwell

... where it will be," he said, "and it doesn't tell on that sign. But it says the circus is coming day after to-morrow. You could find out from your grandpa's hired man, though, where the tents will be. I guess they will put them up in the same place they had them last year, and the hired man was ...
— Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm • Laura Lee Hope

... urged in an agony of apprehension as I pressed my knees close to Fatima's hot sides, and felt her breath beginning to come in long laboring moans as my great weight (with mademoiselle's added one, which might yet prove the last feather) began to tell on her. Bravely she responded to my voice and stretched out farther and faster at every stride, and in another moment, with another tremendous swerve, we had turned the corner into the Rue de l'Eglise ...
— The Rose of Old St. Louis • Mary Dillon

... holy, so acceptable to God, that even those set apart for sanctuary service might feel called to have a hand in it. His prowess, brave as he was, was nothing; it was not his unpractised right arm, but his heart which he devoted to the service, and which would tell on the result, not merely of that special enterprise, nor of that battle only, but, by affording a powerful proof of love of country outweighing considerations of safety and life, would have the influence which a living example, and only a living example, can have.' He knew the full amount ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol III, Issue VI, June, 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... tarnal Greaser," exclaimed Dick, "your jig's danced, an' you must settle with the fiddler. If I only had you out on the prairie, I'd larn you a few things I reckon you never heern tell on. Come here, you keerless feller, an' tell me if you 'member what I said to you ...
— Frank Among The Rancheros • Harry Castlemon

... and look at the miles they have done since sunset to prove it! You, P.D., favorite trooper of our household cavalry! You, Wrath of God, don't be afraid to make an inward smile, for your face will never tell on you! You, Jag Ear, beat a tattoo with the fragment of the gothic glory of burrohood, for we rest, to go on all the faster when the heat of the ...
— Over the Pass • Frederick Palmer

... limit of their traveling powers. Beef cattle, that is, four year old long horns differ greatly from other cattle in their travel. The first day after being put out on the trail they will travel twenty-five miles without any trouble then as the pace begins to tell on them they fall back to fifteen or twenty miles a day, and there also seems to be an understanding among the cattle themselves that each must take a turn at leading the herd, those that start in the lead in ...
— The Life and Adventures of Nat Love - Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick" • Nat Love

... justifications of himself are equally placed to the discredit of his account. They seem to think a man could never accuse himself except he were in the wrong; therefore if ever he excuses himself, he is the more certainly in the wrong: whatever point may tell on the other side, it ...
— The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark - A Study with the Text of the Folio of 1623 • George MacDonald

... cryin' Fire! winders wuz throwed up, doors opened, and in less time than I can tell on't, Surf Avenue wuz full of people. Frenzied cries and shouts rung through the air. And as the flames riz higher and higher, so did the shrieks and yells of the crowd, which had swelled to a mob; bells clanged, fire wagons raced ...
— Samantha at Coney Island - and a Thousand Other Islands • Marietta Holley

... thing the magistrate could do was to make that ball a cause of war. It was easy enough to go to Bulldog's class-room and lodge a complaint, but as he could not identify the culprit, and no one would tell on Jock, the Bailie departed worsted, and the address which he gave the boys was received with derision. When he turned from the boys to the master, he fared no better, for Bulldog who hated tell-tales and had no particular respect for Bailies, told the great man plainly ...
— Young Barbarians • Ian Maclaren

... of the members is not to get cougt and evry feller whitch is a member must agree never to betray enny other feller if he gets cougt himself and is licked to maik him tell. and enny feller whitch does tell on another member will be maid to eet a live toad and 4 angel wirms. it is no xcuse if he does it under terible tortures sutch as shaking hands with a pensil between your fingers or putting musterd on your tung or licking you with a bed slot in ...
— Brite and Fair • Henry A. Shute

... about Peter Storm that he doesn't wish known. But Ed Caspian will know if possible. I do wonder what the mystery can be, don't you? I shall write again almost at once, whether I have any more to tell on this subject or not. I can't stop long in the middle of the secret—I mean ...
— The Lightning Conductor Discovers America • C. N. (Charles Norris) Williamson and A. M. (Alice Muriel)

... persons work with their hands, and some with their heads, and some with their hearts. Abraham's head is always at work—he isn't like most other boys. And as far as his heart—Well, I do love that boy, and I am his step-mother, too. He's always been so good to me that I love to tell on't. His father, I'm thinkin', is rather hard on him sometimes. Abe's heart knows mine and I know his'n, and I couldn't think more on him if he was my own son. His poor mother sleeps out there under the great trees; but I mean to be such a mother to him that he will never ...
— In The Boyhood of Lincoln - A Tale of the Tunker Schoolmaster and the Times of Black Hawk • Hezekiah Butterworth

... seductive odor, seized it incontinently, and neither spoke nor breathed again until the bottom of the rummer was brought parallel to the ceiling; then, with a deep heart-felt sigh, he set it down; and, with a calm placid smile, exclaimed, "Tell on, Jem." Whereupon that worthy launched into his full ...
— Warwick Woodlands - Things as they Were There Twenty Years Ago • Henry William Herbert (AKA Frank Forester)

... carried off somewhere. Pamela has also disappeared—she is doubtless in hiding. I had no particular desire to run any risk; I admit that I lied to the judge. If I am condemned I will obtain my freedom by making a few startling revelations; I will tell on everybody!— ...
— Pamela Giraud • Honore de Balzac

... medieval household equipment. He had added a bedroom here, a cool summer kitchen there, an icehouse, a commodious porch, a washing machine, even a bathroom. But Bella remained unplacated. Her face was set toward the city. And slowly, surely, the effect of thirty years of nagging was beginning to tell on Ben Westerveld. He was the finer metal, but she was the heavier, the coarser. She beat him and molded him as ...
— One Basket • Edna Ferber

... believe one word of ancient history. Not—one—word! They wrote it about their own nations, didn't they? All right. Then you might just as well expect them to tell what really happened, as think that I'd tell on another boy in my own school. I must say it would be as mean as dog pie of them if they did, but all the same that does not make ...
— The Little City Of Hope - A Christmas Story • F. Marion Crawford

... Maud, and tell on," said little Margaret, nestling closer to her friend, and laying her head against her arm as she leaned on ...
— The Black Douglas • S. R. Crockett

... principal wine tavern to tell his friends of his good fortune. They were all so pleased to hear of Pablo's good luck that they drank to his health, and he returned the compliment so often that at last the wine was beginning to tell on him, so he bid his friends good-bye and left, saying to himself, "I must wake his highness at five o'clock." This he kept repeating so often that he had arrived at the large courtyard of the palace before he was aware ...
— Tales from the Lands of Nuts and Grapes - Spanish and Portuguese Folklore • Charles Sellers and Others

... lectures are a man's best, commonly; they improve by age, also,—like the pipes, fiddles, and poems I told you of the other day. One learns to make the most of their strong points and to carry off their weak ones, —to take out the really good things which don't tell on the audience, and put in cheaper things that do. All this degrades him, of course, but it improves the lecture for general delivery. A thoroughly popular lecture ought to have nothing in it which five hundred people cannot all ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... heavier snow-flurries, I could see the stabs of fire in the brownish sky. Wrapped in sheepskins and muffled to the ears in knitted scarves that might have come from New England, the territorials who had charge of the road were filling the ruts with crushed rock. Exhaustion had begun to tell on the horses; many lay dead and snowy in the frozen fields. A detachment of khaki-clad, red-fezzed colonial troops passed by, bent to the storm. The news was of the most depressing sort. The wounded could give you only the story of their part of the line, and you heard ...
— A Volunteer Poilu • Henry Sheahan

... kindly, "Yes; and he saw how differently his words would tell on the hearts of the crowd around. And so he taught them a lesson in this story ...
— Amy Harrison - or Heavenly Seed and Heavenly Dew • Amy Harrison

... eat at a grocery store and to git some newspapers. At first I figgered the police would be a-comin' after me; but they didn't—there wasn't nobody at all seen the shootin', I reckin. And I was skeered Vic Magner might tell on me; but I guess she didn't want to run no risk of gittin' in trouble herself—that Captain Brennan, of the Second Precinct, he's been threatenin' to run her out of town the first good chance he got. And there wasn't none of the other girls there that knowed I ever knew Rod ...
— The Escape of Mr. Trimm - His Plight and other Plights • Irvin S. Cobb

... at me, Tim; I'm goin' to blow the whole thing," continued he, shaking his head at the crestfallen Bunker. "You was fool enough to tell on't yourself." ...
— The Boat Club - or, The Bunkers of Rippleton • Oliver Optic

... tell you! So there now! I told you that fellow didn't! but I won't tell you who did! It is real hard of you to want me to tell on my own brother!" exclaimed Master ...
— Ishmael - In the Depths • Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

... a person never can tell on board ship; but, if you happen to be, it seems to me that you wouldn't care for any outsider to interfere in a matter such as we are discussing. At any rate Mrs. Tremain is a married woman, and I can't see what interest ...
— In a Steamer Chair And Other Stories • Robert Barr

... rub, boy," rejoined the trapper. "Yis, I can see 'twas a narrer rub ye had of it, and the holes in yer shirt show that the sparks was fallin' pritty thick and pritty hot, too, when ye come out of the shanty. How does the stroke tell on ye, boy?" continued the old man, interrogatively. "Ye be pullin' a slashin' stroke, ye see, and there's five mile more of it, ef there's ...
— How Deacon Tubman and Parson Whitney Kept New Year's - And Other Stories • W. H. H. Murray

... allowed in such cases by the authorities on both sides. He caused a letter to be written to Jack, addressing it to his regiment, in care of the War Department, and waited patiently the response. His disappointment and anxiety, as days passed and he got no answer, began to tell on his health, already weakened by his wounds. Thus, one day, when a young lady was shown to his bedside—who fell upon him with a glad cry, and held his head to her breast—he was too far gone in delirium ...
— The Iron Game - A Tale of the War • Henry Francis Keenan

... affirmation rather than a question, and the little doctor took it up. He was not a young man and the shock and the excitement were beginning to tell on ...
— The Yellow Streak • Williams, Valentine

... you know, count, at the end of the game. Trainer. Well, look at the betting! Although they decry us, They'd like to have money on us all the same. Their best horse is "aged," their best jockey oldish, He's plucky, but years, Sir, will tell on the nerve. Some of 'em who've backed him the longest grow coldish, Whilst others do hint that he seems on the swerve. The lot who are sweet on that leggy colt, Labour, Would like a new "mount," if they dared to speak out. There isn't a man of 'em quite trusts his neighbour, Home ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100, May 30, 1891 • Various

... course, if you would prefer not. But Dr Simon advised me most particularly to go out at least once a day. We must remember, this is not the beginning of your illness. Long-continued anxiety, I suppose, does tell on one in time. Anyhow, he said that I looked worried and run-down. I AM worried. Let us both try for each other's sakes, or even if only for Alice's, to—to do all we can. I must not harass you; but is there any—do you see the slightest change of ...
— The Return • Walter de la Mare

... or only one or two. Hence it is that the larger portion of the Public School children are the children of Catholic parents. These States foresee that were the Catholic children to leave their schools, their Public School buildings would soon be empty, and stand there as eloquent monuments to tell on the folly of the States for having erected them. Now in order to keep the Catholic children at their schools, and thus keep up their fine lucrative establishments, they have, in several places, taken in the Catholic priests as members of the School Boards. Truly, "the children ...
— Public School Education • Michael Mueller

... place," said he, "and finer folk live in it than I ever thought on, or ever heerd tell on except in th' storybooks. They are having their good things now, that afterwards they ...
— Mary Barton • Elizabeth Gaskell

... worse for a basting, and a deal more to the same tune, which almost broke through my determination to say nothing of what had caused the mischief; for, after all, Dick Cludde and Cyrus Vetch were my schoolfellows, and, in my day; for one boy to tell on another ...
— Humphrey Bold - A Story of the Times of Benbow • Herbert Strang

... thou hast spilt, Thou shall not answer aught but as thou wilt." Then the man rose and said, "O King, indeed Of thine awarded silence have I need, Nameless I am, nameless what I have done Must be through many circles of the sun. But for to-morrow—let me rather tell On this same eve what things I can do well, And let me put mine hand in thine and swear To serve thee faithfully a changing year; Nor think the woods of Ossa hold one beast That of thy tenderest yearling shall make feast, Whiles that ...
— The Earthly Paradise - A Poem • William Morris

... heaven. And heaven spread before him, heaven; behind him lay hell, fifteen years of it less one. And they gave him choice again betwixt the two. They even crammed a bit of moral in the offer. "It was right," they said, "to tell on those who had broken the prison regulations, mere justice to the lessees." Right! too late to talk to him of right. He glanced once at the pines, going farther away, whiffed at the pleasant odor of the grape blooms, waved ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 23, October, 1891 • Various

... prevent the Spaniards from thus setting a bad example to the subjects of the Bourbon dynasty. Then the condition of Poland was giving some alarm to the despotic monarchs of the Continent everywhere; for, if Poland were to rise and were allowed to assert its liberty, who could tell on what soil, sacred to despotism, other rebellious movements might not also break out. Therefore, the monarchs of the Holy Alliance were much perturbed, and came to the conclusion that, as the Congress of Vienna had not succeeded in enforcing all its edicts, the only wise thing would be ...
— A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, Volume IV (of 4) • Justin McCarthy and Justin Huntly McCarthy

... a wedding and after the wedding we'll all be thrown out of The Dreamerie to make room for Master Don and his consort. So, it appears to me, since Mr. Daney has warned you not to tell, mother dear, that he cannot afford to tell on you himself—no, not even to save his ...
— Kindred of the Dust • Peter B. Kyne

... "And I can tell on which side every one here is." Then going round the table, I touched the shoulder of each of the company, saying, "A Jew!—No Jew!" and bursts of ...
— Tales & Novels, Vol. IX - [Contents: Harrington; Thoughts on Bores; Ormond] • Maria Edgeworth

... the day I thee entreat, My hands to thee I spread. 40 10 Wilt thou do wonders on the dead, Shall the deceas'd arise And praise thee from their loathsom bed With pale and hollow eyes? 11 Shall they thy loving kindness tell On whom the grave hath hold, Or they who in perdition dwell Thy faithfulness unfold? 12 In darkness can thy mighty hand Or wondrous acts be known, 50 Thy justice in the gloomy land Of dark oblivion? 13 But I to thee O Lord do cry E're yet my life be spent, And up to thee my praier ...
— The Poetical Works of John Milton • John Milton

... degree, have been an exception to the rule; though he saw the hand of God in nearly all things. "It's wonderful to look at, Captain Gar'ner, isn't it?" said this worthy seaman, about the time the light of the moon began to tell on the view; "wonderful, truly, did we not know who made it all!" These few and simple words had a cheering influence on Roswell, and served to increase his confidence in eventual success. God did produce all things, either directly or indirectly; this even ...
— The Sea Lions - The Lost Sealers • James Fenimore Cooper

... children!—there's folks coming. I'll let ye in. I lock t' old lass up when I go out, for she might be wandering, and there's them hereabouts that would reckon nought of putting her out of t' way and taking what she's got, if they heard tell on't." ...
— We and the World, Part II. (of II.) - A Book for Boys • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... were, the one this lovely land of age and hoar antiquity, and the other that young giant land of the West, which is still in the garish strong light of morning, and whose great day is in the future. Nor, I think, before he had seen both, would Dickens himself have been able to tell on which side his sympathies would lie. Thoroughly popular in his convictions, thoroughly satisfied that to-day was in all respects better than yesterday, it is clear that he expected to find more pleasure in the brand new Republic than his actual experience warranted. The roughness of the ...
— Life of Charles Dickens • Frank Marzials

... reasonable to suppose that when I wear out it will be for good and all, too. There isn't anything of us, as I look at it, except the potentiality of experiences. The experiences come through the passions that you can tell on the fingers of one hand: love, hate, hope, grief, and you may say greed for the thumb. When you've had them, that's the end of it; you've exhausted your capacity; you're used up, and so's your character,—that often dies before the ...
— A Pair of Patient Lovers • William Dean Howells

... a right smart to say during slavery times. She was cooking for her mistress and had a family. She'd hide good things to take to her children. The mistress kept a polly parrot about in the kitchen. Polly would tell on grandma. Caused grandma to get whoopings. She talked like a good many of 'em. She got sick. The woman what married grandma's brother was to take her place. She wasn't going to be getting no whoopings. She sewed the parrot up. He got ...
— Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4 • Works Projects Administration

... feel that one or other of us was forcing conversation, as if we were not sure of ourselves. The long wait was beginning to tell on our nerves. It was apparent to me that Mr. Trelawny had suffered in that strange trance more than we suspected, or than he cared to show. True, his will and his determination were as strong as ever; but the purely physical side of him had been weakened somewhat. It was indeed only natural ...
— The Jewel of Seven Stars • Bram Stoker

... had begun to tell on him. A quarter of the quantity would have made a clean-living man incapably drunk, but it had only made Marsden's eyes bright. He gave a ...
— Widdershins • Oliver Onions

... I scarcely know. He is with him now, and has watched every night since Arthur's return. I never saw any one so changed, or else we didn't understand him. He is tireless in his strength, and womanly in his patience. His vigils are beginning to tell on him sadly, but he says that he will not give up till the crisis is past. If Arthur lives he will owe his life largely to one who, last summer, appeared too indolent to think of anything but his own pleasure. How ...
— An Original Belle • E. P. Roe

... the four Kerothi officers were sitting in the small dining room that doubled as a recreation room between meals. The nervous strain of the past few months was beginning to tell on all ...
— The Highest Treason • Randall Garrett

... everywhere inflicted by the thoughtless, haphazard system in common use. Is it decided that a boy shall be clothed in some flimsy short dress, and be allowed to go playing about with limbs reddened by cold? The decision will tell on his whole future existence—either in illnesses; or in stunted growth; or in deficient energy; or in a maturity less vigorous than it ought to have been, and in consequent hindrances to success and happiness. Are children doomed to a monotonous ...
— Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects - Everyman's Library • Herbert Spencer

... She was gittin' on to be a old woman den. She's dead sence. Yer see, she knowed me by my name, an' she tuk keer on me, else I'd nebber been here ter tell on't. Atter I got better like, she sorter persuaded me ter stay dar. I wuz powerful homesick, an' wanted ter h'year from 'Gena an' de chillen, an' ef I'd hed money 'nough left, I'd a come straight back h'yer; but what with travellin' an' doctors' bills, an' de like, I hadn't ...
— Bricks Without Straw • Albion W. Tourgee

... sold 'em durin' slavery. Some of de white men bought 'em. They were Irishmen and they would not tell on us. Their names were Mulligan, Flanagan and Dugan. They wore good clothes and were funny mens. They called ...
— Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States • Various

... Southampton, ushered thither from Swanage and put aboard the steamer by our faithful Onkel Keck, son of the folk with whom Carl had stayed in Heidelberg, who came all the way from London for that purpose. It was not such a brash Herr Doktor that we found, after all: the Channel had begun to tell on him, as it were, and while it was plain that he loved us, it was also plain that he did not love the water. So we gave him his six days off, and he lay anguish-eyed in a steamer-chair while I covered fifty-seven miles a ...
— An American Idyll - The Life of Carleton H. Parker • Cornelia Stratton Parker

... agree to it, fur it's not much. Ye've found out this tale o' my life; there's none else as knows it, save mother lying dead, an' Johnnie I telled fur love's sake, an' him as lies palsied i' Yarm—God A'mighty only knows, sir, what Dan'el McGair could tell on't—but this I ask, sir,—that ye'll keep all ye knows an' say nowt. I did Dan'el a great wrong, for I smiled on him whiles for the sake o' power; not but what he did me a worse wrong, so far worse that whiles I think no woman has so sore a ...
— A Dozen Ways Of Love • Lily Dougall

... things I don't know in my own household. I always fancy them worse than they are. There are so many things one can imagine when one doesn't KNOW, and now I fancied everything. Such things, I think, tell on older people more than on younger ones, and at last I went to my room and kept there most of the time, reading William James's Varieties of Religious Experience. It is an excellent work in many ways. ...
— The Whole Family - A Novel by Twelve Authors • William Dean Howells, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Mary Heaton Vorse, Mary Stewart Cutting, Elizabeth Jo

... who were mostly young and well acquainted with the house and its hospitality, there was one unique figure,—that of the lively Miss Strange, who, if personally unknown to Miss Driscoll, was so gifted with the qualities which tell on an occasion of this kind, that the stately young hostess hailed her presence ...
— The Golden Slipper • Anna Katharine Green

... began to look less formidable. Gathering close round the fire, they prepared their supper cheerfully, while the dogs fought over scraps of frozen fish. Harding, however, had misgivings about their ability to keep up the pace; he thought that in a day or two it would tell on the white men. ...
— The Intriguers • Harold Bindloss

... increased to such an extent that we could scarcely see the length of the vessel. There was also very little wind. Yet we did not fail to set sail, in order to avoid the ice. But, although expecting to extricate ourselves, we found ourselves so involved in it that we could not tell on which side to tack. We were accordingly again compelled to lower sail, and drift until the ice should allow us to make sail. We made a hundred tacks on one side and the other, several times fearing that we were lost. The ...
— Voyages of Samuel de Champlain V3 • Samuel de Champlain

... in Montreal; and it was so welcome that they were almost glad to lose money on their greenbacks, which the conductor of the omnibus would take only at a discount of twenty cents. At breakfast next morning they could hardly tell on what country they had fallen. The waiters had but a thin varnish of English speech upon their native French, and they spoke their own tongue with each other; but most of the meats were cooked to the English taste, and the whole was a poor imitation ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... to be always so? Was he to pass out of the world into eternity thus—thrilling the hearts of those who heard him with bitterest agony? No; there came a change. Another day, the remedies had begun to tell on the patient. The fever gradually left him. The fire had faded from his eye, the hectic from his cheek. And now father and mother, one on either side, bent over him. Lady Oldfield read from the blessed Book the parable of the Prodigal Son. She thought ...
— Frank Oldfield - Lost and Found • T.P. Wilson

... when Peggy came in. Out of doors there was a blinding glare, and the heat had drawn the scent out of the unseasoned pine with which Tarrong was mostly built, till the air was filled with a sort of incense. Peggy came in hot and short-tempered. The strain was beginning to tell on her nerves, and, from a remark or two she let fall, Blake saw that she might be inclined to give trouble if not promptly ...
— An Outback Marriage • Andrew Barton Paterson

... And soon I heard the bell to matins ring, And up I rose, no longer would I lie. But now, how trow ye? such a fantasy Fell me to mind, that aye methought the bell Said to me, 'Tell on man what thee befell.' ...
— English Literature For Boys And Girls • H.E. Marshall

... It's a coon's age since we've seen you, Tom. Time you showed yourself. How are the children, Jenny—and what's Tom Scott been doing? What's this we hear about that stray young one? Nice tale that is to tell on a fellow. Fowler heard it at Brownsboro and like to have killed himself. Lord! how hot it's been! I'm ready for supper, Jenny. Sit down, Tom. As soon as I get through supper, we'll have a real old-fashioned talk. I've been suffering for one for three months. ...
— In Connection with the De Willoughby Claim • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... she was not present, Henry took sugar from her prized and precious old English sugar-bowl, which was an heirloom in the family—and he managed to break the bowl. It was the first time I had ever had a chance to tell anything on him, and I was inexpressibly glad. I told him I was going to tell on him, but he was not disturbed. When my mother came in and saw the bowl lying on the floor in fragments, she was speechless for a minute. I allowed that silence to work; I judged it would increase the effect. I was waiting for her to ask "Who ...
— Chapters from My Autobiography • Mark Twain

... going to meeting to-day," chuckled the naughty boy, "and I don't believe grandma'd ever tell on me if I carried ...
— Good Cheer Stories Every Child Should Know • Various

... besides with the posterior half of the cranio-spinal chord and its nerves. For now the entranced person, who has no feeling, or taste, or smell of his own, feels, tastes, and smells every thing that is made to tell on the senses of the operator. If mustard or sugar be put in his own mouth, he seems not to know that they are there; if mustard is placed on the tongue of the operator, the entranced person expresses ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847 • Various

... bustle of the city, or lingered long in the library, or turned eager feet toward the forum, this youth plunged into the fields and forests, and with a lover's passion for his noble mistress gave himself to roots and seeds and flowers. While he was still a child he would tell on what day in March the first violet bloomed; when the first snowdrop came, and, going back through his years, could tell the very day in spring when the first robin sang near his window. Soon the boy's collection of plants appealed to the wonder of scholars. ...
— The Investment of Influence - A Study of Social Sympathy and Service • Newell Dwight Hillis

... am," he answered fretfully, for the suspense began to tell on his nerves. "I would rather know the worst and face the worst than be left to worry over these hints. Has the trouble to do with ...
— Red Money • Fergus Hume

... find it out," he advised. "If she got on to this! But I'll never tell on you, Matilda." He patted her shoulder ...
— No. 13 Washington Square • Leroy Scott

... reached the water-hole by easy stages, the wagon now being heavily laden, and gave the cattle a day's rest here. The doctor was forced to abandon his idea of getting a buffalo, as every pound of weight would tell on the oxen, but he cared little for ...
— The Rogue Elephant - The Boys' Big Game Series • Elliott Whitney

... said—as a sheep for the slaughter. But the world thought she was set at liberty, and, as her barge passed under the bridge, Mary heard with indignation, from the palace windows, three salvoes of artillery fired from the Steelyard, as a sign of the joy of the people. Vexations began to tell on Mary's spirit. She could not shake off her anxieties, or escape from the shadow of her subject's hatred. Insolent pamphlets were dropped in her path and in the offices of Whitehall. They were placed by mysterious hands in ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI. • Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton

... southwest course that was carrying them into the fastnesses of the main range of the western continent. Another full day of almost constant advance, and the trail had entered the undulating hills forming the approach of this second range of mountains. Physical exertion was beginning to tell on the animals, and they were compelled to make frequent halts in the ...
— Cattle Brands - A Collection of Western Camp-fire Stories • Andy Adams

... ketch him, Run ter de roos' en fetch him! He ain't gwine tell On de dinner bell— Ketch him, ...
— Camp and Trail - A Story of the Maine Woods • Isabel Hornibrook

... me;[FN173] wherefore, if it like thee, O king, I will relate unto thee [somewhat] of that which befell kings of old time of the perfidy of their women and of the calamities which overtook them by reason of these latter." "How so?" asked the king. "Tell on." "Hearkening and obedience,"answered Shehrzad."It hath been told me, O king, that a man once related to a company and ...
— Tales from the Arabic Volumes 1-3 • John Payne

... the inside to make the grain closer: I've heerd tell on that dodge. If you warn't so far from the "Corner," we could fix our sugar together, an' make but one bilin' of it, for you'll want a team, an' you don't know nothin' about maples.' Zack's eyes were askance upon Robert. 'We might 'most as well ...
— Cedar Creek - From the Shanty to the Settlement • Elizabeth Hely Walshe

... 'In the centre of the head is the master hole of all, planned out for being cut. But not yet cut! Mark you, 'tis not yet cut. That is for the woman I hate most of all women. She is not yet cast down that I have heard tell on, though some have said "Aye," some "Nay." Tell me, have you heard yet of a Kat Howard ...
— Privy Seal - His Last Venture • Ford Madox Ford

... are there," said Charlotte, "and that is all they will know. They won't tell on me. I never tell ...
— The Beth Book - Being a Study of the Life of Elizabeth Caldwell Maclure, a Woman of Genius • Sarah Grand

... appeal to the nation at large, and to forget for a while their royal pretensions; and these times of national enthusiasm, as during the wars of Frederick the Great, and during the wars against Napoleon, have not failed to tell on the literature of Germany. They produced a national spirit, free from professorial narrowness, such as we find in the writings of Lessing and Fichte. But with the exception of these short lucid intervals, Germany has always been under the absolute despotism of a number of ...
— Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. • F. Max Mueller

... Are you going to tell on us? It wouldn't be fair to Tom Brooks. He ain't here, but you might ...
— Luke Walton • Horatio Alger

... bring her to a proper sense of the accepted values in this affair, but my aunt's originality of outlook was never so invincible. "Men don't tell on one another in affairs of passion," I ...
— Tono Bungay • H. G. Wells

... speaketh through the nose, And sneezeth much, and he hath got the POSE, {19} And also hath given us business enow To keep him on his horse, out of the slough; He'll fall again, if he be driven to speak, And then, where are we, for a second week? Why, lifting up his heavy drunken corse! Tell on thy tale, and look we to his horse. Yet, Manciple, in faith thou art too nice Thus openly to chafe him for his vice. Perchance some day he'll do as much for thee, And bring thy baker's bills in jeopardy, Thy black jacks also, and thy butcher's matters, ...
— Playful Poems • Henry Morley

... his ears, still held him in its thrall, calling him back into the dream from which he had just awakened. Still heavy with sleep and also somewhat light-headed—for he had been traveling for two days and the strain was beginning to tell on him, although the doctors had at last pronounced him able to make the journey home for a month's furlough—he leaned his head against the cool green plush back-rest and stared idly through half-closed eyelids down the long vista of the Pullman ...
— The Camp Fire Girls Do Their Bit - Or, Over the Top with the Winnebagos • Hildegard G. Frey

... 6 a.m. had our breakfast, and were again on our march, visiting a waterhole seen on our outward route, but now found to be quite dry. We pushed on at the best speed of our horses, which was now not much over two miles an hour, to 10.0, when the heat of the day began to tell on the jaded animals; we therefore halted for an hour to give the horses half a gallon of water each, after which they travelled on much more briskly, so that by a little past noon we succeeded in reaching the large ...
— Journals of Australian Explorations • A C and F T Gregory

... bad boy. You ran away because you were scared. Well, I don't blame ye for that. I never seen a dead Jew myself, though I often wanted to. You won't go back if you can help it, 'cos why? 'Cos you don't want to tell on a man: 'cos his aunt's a friend o' yourn: and 'cos you don't believe he's guilty. ...
— The Adventures of Harry Revel • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... He simply asked what animals ate. That's all. Now if he promised he wouldn't tell on you, he didn't. It's your own foolishness in trying to take something without permission that gave you away. That happened to be stealing. Now have you an animal? I ask you a ...
— Youth • Isaac Asimov

... melted before them like a cloud before the sun! Many more would have worked than we employed, but we used the precaution of taking the names of those engaged. The tall men became exhausted soonest, while the shorter men worked vigorously still—but a couple of days' hard work seemed to tell on the best of them. It is doubtful if any but meat-eating people can stand long-continued labour without exhaustion: the Chinese may be an exception. When French navvies were first employed they could not do a tithe of the work of our English ones; but when ...
— The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Volume I (of 2), 1866-1868 • David Livingstone



Words linked to "Tell on" :   touch on, impact, touch, bear upon, inform, sell out, bear on, affect



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