tell on

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tell on (third-person singular simple present tells on, present participle telling on, simple past and past participle told on)

  1. (usually childish) To inform on, to rat out; to tell a person in authority that someone else has done something wrong.
    My sister told on me when I didn't go to school.
    • Bible, 1 Sam. xxvii. 11
      Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David.
  2. To cause visible strain to.
    Years of drinking started to tell on his body.


See also[edit]