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Fall Head Over Heels...


[tel] /tɛl/
[vil-helm] /ˈvɪl hɛlm/ (Show IPA),
William Tell.

William Tell

a legendary Swiss patriot forced by the Austrian governor to shoot an apple off his son's head with bow and arrow.
German Wilhelm Tell. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for wilhelm tell
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British Dictionary definitions for wilhelm tell


verb tells, telling, told
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to let know or notify: he told me that he would go
(transitive) to order or instruct (someone to do something): I told her to send the letter airmail
when intr, usually foll by of. to give an account or narration (of something): she told me her troubles
(transitive) to communicate by words; utter: to tell the truth
(transitive) to make known; disclose: to tell fortunes
(intransitive) often foll by of. to serve as an indication: her blush told of her embarrassment
(transitive; used with can, etc; may take a clause as object) to comprehend, discover, or discern: I can tell what is wrong
(transitive; used with can, etc) to distinguish or discriminate: he couldn't tell chalk from cheese
(intransitive) to have or produce an impact, effect, or strain: every step told on his bruised feet
(informal) (intransitive) sometimes foll by on. to reveal secrets or gossip (about): don't tell!, she told on him
(transitive) to assure: I tell you, I've had enough!
(transitive) to count (votes)
(intransitive) (dialect) to talk or chatter
(informal, mainly US) to tell the truth no matter how unpleasant it is
tell the time, to read the time from a clock
(slang) you're telling me, I know that very well
See also tell apart, tell off
Derived Forms
tellable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tellan; related to Old Saxon tellian, Old High German zellen to tell, count, Old Norse telja


a large mound resulting from the accumulation of rubbish on a long-settled site, esp one with mudbrick buildings, particularly in the Middle East
Word Origin
C19: from Arabic tall


William, German name Wilhelm Tell. a legendary Swiss patriot, who, traditionally, lived in the early 14th century and was compelled by an Austrian governor to shoot an apple from his son's head with one shot of his crossbow. He did so without mishap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wilhelm tell



Old English tellan "to reckon, calculate, consider, account," from Proto-Germanic *taljanan "to mention in order" (cf. Old Saxon tellian, Old Norse telja, Old Frisian tella "to count, tell," Dutch tellen "to count, reckon," Old Saxon talon "to count, reckon," Danish tale "to speak," Old High German zalon, German zählen "to count, reckon"), from root *talo (see tale). Meaning "to narrate, relate" is from c.1000; that of "to make known by speech or writing, announce" is from early 12c. Sense of "to reveal or disclose" is from c.1400; that of "to act as an informer, to 'peach' " is recorded from 1901. Meaning "to order (someone to do something)" is from 1590s. Original sense in teller and phrase to tell time. For sense evolution, cf. French conter "to count," raconter "to recount;" Italian contare, Spanish contar "to count, recount, narrate;" German zählen "to count," erzählen "to recount, narrate."

I tolde hyme so, & euer he seyde nay. [Thomas Hoccleve, "The Regiment of Princes," c.1412]
Telling "having effect or force" is from 1852.


"mound, hill," 1864, from Arabic tall, related to Hebrew tel "mount, hill, heap."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wilhelm tell

telephone tag

noun phrase

The repeated exchange of recorded telephone messages: I don't feel like playing telephone tag with her/ ''Having computers in our volunteers' homes has eliminated phone tag,'' says Power, referring to the pervasive round-robin of messages left and phone calls missed (1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with wilhelm tell
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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