Translation of tell in Spanish:

tell

decir, v.

Pronunciation /tɛl//tɛl/

transitive verb

  • 1

    (inform, reveal)
    decir
    to tell sb the truth/a lie decirle la verdad/una mentira a algn
    • as I was telling you como te estaba / iba diciendo
    • I don't know how to tell you this but … no sé cómo decírtelo, pero …
    • don't tell me, let me guess no me lo digas, a ver si adivino
    • I've been told that … me han dicho que …
    • he was told that … le dijeron que …
    • could you tell me the way to the station? ¿me podría decir / indicar cómo se llega a la estación?
    • I'll tell him you are here le diré que ha llegado
    • I'll tell him what happened le diré / contaré qué pasó
    • tell me when you've finished dime / avísame cuando hayas terminado
    • (in letters) I am pleased to be able to tell you that … me complace comunicarle / informarle que …
    • she won't be told no le hace caso a nadie
    • I told you so! ¿no te lo dije?
    • I can't tell you how relieved I am! ¡no te imaginas el alivio que siento!
    • However, a more telling statistic would be loss and damage rate per 1,000 weapons passes.
    • The most telling fact is that I had a terrible job getting the book back from my colleagues to review.
    • But closer examination of the figures tells a different story.
    • Her mother tells her how wonderful everything is in the city.
    • With all the discussion about the fisheries issue, he said one telling detail is being left out.
    • Each painting tells a story and relates back to Stadium Australia and the workers.
    • Lauren relates her story in a simple time sequence and gives telling details which make the narration gripping.
    • The evidence of the accused tells an entirely different story, in that he says he did not arrange the marriage.
    • She had no doubt been told of the historic reasons why the lords feel they must rule us.
    • Sources told us earlier today that the campaign would widen and apparently it has.
    • He lost both his job and later his life for his troubles, for speaking out and telling the truth.
    • The owner of the chemist's shop where the armed robbery took place told of his shock and horror at the incident.
    • Dad was still telling me how proud he was of me.
    • However, the most telling evidence of its enduring value is that it is still in print three decades later.
    • But the body of his report tells a different story.
    • Within families a lot happens on the periphery and the most telling details are often seen out of the corner of one's eye.
    • That's because he speaks his mind and tells the truth.
    • Each movement of his body tells the story described by song.
    • Employees told of massive delays and journeys of up to eight hours to London from York as the railways were in crisis.
    • In other words, telling the plain truth probably would have been sufficient.
    • Last night, her shocked brother told of how he made a desperate bid to save her.
    • Hearing her friends tell her how lucky she was to have someone so devoted only made it worse.
    • Although intricate in their themes, each picture tells a thousand different stories while remaining beautifully simple.
    • Eyewitnesses told of the horror of being crushed, of falling and then having other people falling on top of them.
    • The couple told of the whispering campaign in their community accusing them of being in some way responsible.
    • Her mother had told her earlier that the guests would be arriving around 4.
    • Sadly, the reality tells a different, a gloomier kind of story.
    • While headlines screamed of a terrifying rise in youth crime, Wood said the figures told a different story.
    • Neighbours have spoken of their shock at the incident and told of a quiet woman who kept herself to herself.
    • Another doctor told the inquest the symptoms could have been caused by anxiety and depression.
    • They also told of how their son had been deeply affected by the abduction.
    • A North Yorkshire farmer today told of his family's despair as foot and mouth claimed his flock of sheep.
    • One doctor told the conference he sees 50 patients a day.
    • Figures tell part of the story but are not the sole reason for Manly's collapse.
    • The inquest was told yesterday that he complained of feeling " queasy " minutes before the tragic incident.
  • 2

    (recount, relate)
    (joke/tale) contar
    tell me a story cuéntame un cuento
    • the poem tells how … el poema cuenta cómo …
    • to tell sb about sb/sth
    • she's told me all about you me ha hablado mucho de ti
    • tell us about Lima cuéntanos cómo es Lima (or qué tal te fue en Lima etc.)
    • have you told him about us? ¿le has contado lo nuestro?
    • Johns' blue eyes brighten as he tells this story, and he laughs.
    • We laughed too, even though she had not finished telling her story.
    • Another way of using language to cheer someone up is by telling stories and jokes.
    • She tells stories, laughs easily and explains processes and ideas clearly.
    • Most important is to find the voice with which to tell the story.
    • He was telling stories and jokes and had the attention of us all as he was pretty good at it.
    • To illustrate, she tells the story of the night watchman given to practical jokes.
    • The way he tells his stories and jokes is true to life everywhere.
    • We raced the rooftops to the very edge of it where we saw a group of soldiers merrily laughing and telling stories around the fire.
    • He tries to tell the story in a way that relates to the modern audience.
    • Ordinary sailors and marines will also be telling their own stories, speaking to the audience from the naval vessels.
    • It would be a great shame if teenage boys, in whose voice the story is told, were deterred by the girl's name in the title.
    • Global stars they may be, but they created a warm, homely atmosphere, joking and telling stories about their family.
    • These guys are so funny and laid back on stage, making jokes, telling stories, having a good time.
    • For me, it was just telling a story and relating the adventures and hardships while on Everest.
    • They sat at the table drinking the wine, telling stories and making jokes about General Hackman.
    • Daddy does all kinds of voices when he tells stories and he always makes me laugh.
    • And every week he has three of us who will be on the broadcast telling a story.
    • The old girls sit for hours under a mango tree, threading and weaving, gossiping and telling stories.
    • Anthony seemed to be telling a joke or story of some sort, but it was obvious that Nick's attention was elsewhere.
  • 3

    (instruct, warn)
    decir
    do as / what you're told haz lo que se te dice
    • I won't tell you again no te lo voy a volver a repetir
    • no-one told me what to do nadie me dijo qué / lo que tenía que hacer
    • to tell sb to + inf decirle a algn que + subj
    • tell them to come in diles que pasen
    • she told me to be quiet me dijo que me callara
    • I told you not to do that! ¡te dije que no hicieras eso!
    • The jury normally receives an order from the court telling it to accept the laws as they are.
    • The same lawyers told him to bring charges to a civil court and the sports court of arbitrage.
    • They told them to dismount and then tied them up and ordered them into the American vehicle.
    • People are too intelligent for us to direct their minds and tell them go this way or that way.
    • With a standing order, you tell your bank to pay a fixed sum at a regular interval to an organisation or individual.
    • She knew she had been told to stay quiet, but she couldn't.
    • But the pair were unable to attend after being told to stay in hospital.
    • Cancer cells get these nutrients by sending out a complex set of chemical instructions telling the body to produce new blood vessels to feed it.
  • 4

    • 4.1(ascertain, know)

      it's difficult to tell her age es difícil calcularle la edad
      • I can't tell the exact width no sabría decir qué ancho tiene exactamente
      • I could tell from her voice that she was upset por la voz me di cuenta de que estaba disgustada
      • you can tell by their clothes that they're French por la ropa se nota que son franceses
      • there's no telling what might happen no se sabe lo que podría ocurrir

    • 4.2(distinguish)

      distinguir
      to tell sth/sb from sth/sb distinguir algo/a algn de algo/algn
      • it's hard to tell one twin from the other es difícil distinguir a un mellizo del otro
      • you can always tell a Rubens un Rubens es fácil de reconocer
      • to tell right from wrong discriminar entre lo que está bien y lo que está mal
      • The bomb may be smart, but it can't tell the difference between a bunker and a school.
      • The company is in big trouble if their commissioning editors can't tell the difference between the two.
      • He's the only person at the bar who can't tell the difference between beer and water.
      • Some say they can't tell the difference between two teams when they are on the other wing!
      • It just can't tell the difference between its narrowband and broadband users.
      • He can't tell the difference between the truth and what his lawyer is telling him.
      • I'll wager she can't tell the difference between a Klieg light and sunlight.
      • Personally, I can't tell the difference between diamonds and bits of clear broken glass!


intransitive verb

  • 1

    • 1.1(reveal)

      only he knows the answer and he's not telling solo él sabe la respuesta, pero no se la va a decir a nadie
      • promise you won't tell? ¿prometes que no se lo vas a contar / decir a nadie?
      • to tell on sb (to sb)
      • he told on us to the teacher se chivó al profesor
      • don't tell on us! ¡no nos descubras!

    • 1.2literary (relate)

      more than words can tell más de lo que pueden expresar las palabras
      • to tell of sth hablar de algo
      • it tells of great suffering habla de grandes sufrimientos
      • He told the number of girls and officers standing in a line.
      • He told the number of school that they had established, and how they obtained their scholars.

  • 2

    (know, work out)
    saber
    who can tell! ¡quién sabe!
    • She can tell that for once Jason is surprised and she decides that that is a good thing.
    • There is an awkward silence and I can tell that they are wondering if I heard something that I shouldn't.
    • Talking to people in the area about it, one can tell that they are all very proud of their Medical Centre.
    • I can tell that she's been wanting to say this for a while, but that doesn't make me want to hear it any more.
    • You look at one of my documents on a screen, and hopefully you can tell that it's been crafted to make you want to read it.
    • From first impressions you can tell that this is a bike that has been designed with a true passion for the sport it was intended.
    • Nobody can tell, but they will certainly have their work cut out for them.
    • The muscle in his jaw clenches, and you can tell he's trying hard not to start crying.
    • As the music swells to a triumphant brass climax, I can tell that victory is within my grasp.
    • I look at her eyes in her own rear-view mirror and I can tell that she is laughing at me.
    • I can tell that they imagine that ideal job in banking is lying just around the next corner.
    • It is perfect in every way, and I can tell that both my grandmother and my aunt agree.
    • I can tell that she knows something is not quite right about the scenario she walked in on.
    • From the way he's smiling, I can tell that he hasn't smiled in a long time.
    • Although he's a cool, controlled character, one can tell that Scott is a little hurt by this.
    • My friends have tried to be nice but I can tell that they all think we are going to break up eventually.
    • I can tell that he loves what he does, that all his dreams are busy coming true.
    • The atmosphere is what makes it such a special place and you can tell that patients and staff alike love being here.
    • You can tell that they're starting to like you, that they want to trust you.
    • I can tell that this is going to be one of those long-winded, rambling posts about nothing at all.
  • 3

    (count, have an effect)
    breeding tells la buena educación siempre se nota
    • he made every punch tell hizo contar cada golpe
    • his influence told su influencia fue decisiva
    • her age is beginning to tell se le está empezando a notar la edad
    • to tell against sb/sth obrar en contra de algn/algo
    • to tell on sb/sth
    • the strain is beginning to tell on him la tensión lo está empezando a afectar