a person who heedlessly or maliciously reveals private or confidential matters; tattler; talebearer.
a thing serving to reveal or disclose something.
any of various indicating or registering devices, as a time clock.
Music. a gauge on an organ for indicating the air pressure.
an indicator showing the position of a ship's rudder.
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.
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.
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.
that reveals or betrays what is not intended to be known: a telltale blush.
giving notice or warning of something, as a mechanical device.

1540–50; tell1 + tale

telltalely, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
telltale (ˈtɛlˌteɪl)
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
They also tested three phony blue diamonds-of which none had the telltale red
He sees the telltale triangle in the mud, raises his dart's point, and drives
  it down with all he has in him.
He also listens for a telltale hollow report, which would mean the creature
  within is dead and shriveled.
New research shows that there are many testable, telltale biomarkers.
Related Words
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