tell tale

telltale

[tel-teyl]
noun
1.
a person who heedlessly or maliciously reveals private or confidential matters; tattler; talebearer.
2.
a thing serving to reveal or disclose something.
3.
any of various indicating or registering devices, as a time clock.
4.
Music. a gauge on an organ for indicating the air pressure.
5.
an indicator showing the position of a ship's rudder.
6.
a row of strips hung over a track to warn train crew members on freight trains that a low bridge, tunnel, or the like is approaching.
7.
Yachting. (on a sailboat) a feather, string, or similar device, often attached to the port and starboard shrouds and to the backstay, to indicate the relative direction of the wind.
8.
Squash. a narrow piece of metal across the front wall of a court, parallel to and extending 17 inches (43.2 cm) above the base: a ball striking this is an out.
adjective
9.
that reveals or betrays what is not intended to be known: a telltale blush.
10.
giving notice or warning of something, as a mechanical device.

Origin:
1540–50; tell1 + tale

telltalely, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
telltale (ˈtɛlˌteɪl)
 
n
1.  a person who tells tales about others
2.  a.  an outward indication of something concealed
 b.  (as modifier): a telltale paw mark
3.  any of various indicators or recording devices used to monitor a process, machine, etc
4.  nautical
 a.  another word for dogvane
 b.  one of a pair of light vanes mounted on the main shrouds of a sailing boat to indicate the apparent direction of the wind

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

telltale
1548 (n.), 1594 (adj.), from tell + tale, in phrase to tell a tale "relate a false or exaggerated story" (c.1275).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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