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Related to told: all told, told off
An exclamation of surprised or incredulous curiosity, sometimes (but not necessarily) a literal prompt for the speaker to tell more. You're getting a divorce? Do tell!
I told you so!
I warned you that this would happen; I told you things would turn out this way. A: "That car I bought online turned out to be a complete piece of junk!" B: "See? I told you so!"
See also: told
tell a (little) white lie
To tell a seemingly small, insignificant, or harmless lie, often presumably in order not to offend or upset someone. I knew Jenny would be upset if she knew I didn't want go to the movies with her tomorrow, so I just told her a white lie about having to take care of my elderly grandmother. Don't get into the habit of telling little white lies, or, pretty soon, you'll start telling big, fat, ugly ones.
To (profess to) anticipate, and inform about, future outcomes or see what future events will take place. There's this old lady in the apartment next to mine who tells fortunes for ten bucks. I never go in for stuff like that, but I'll admit that I'm a bit curious.
tell (someone) what's what
To inform someone of the true facts or most fundamental information (about someone or something). After putting it off for a week, Sarah finally told Jane what's what and ended their relationship. You're so naïve about the way you think this business operates, so allow me to finally tell you what's what.
(if the) truth be told
I must admit; to be honest; in actuality. Truth be told, even though I majored in English literature, I've never read anything by Hemingway! I know I said I wanted to go out to the bars tonight, but if the truth be told, I'd rather just stay home and watch a movie.
(one's) little finger told (one) that
A phrase used when the speaker has learned something by unconventional means. Pain in one's fingers was once regarded as an indicator of things to come. Oh dear, I just knew that they were going to break up this weekend—my little finger told me that.
a little bird told me
A phrase used when one does not want to reveal the source of the information that one is about to share or has shared. Did you hear that Mark is planning to propose to Sarah soon? Yes, a little bird told me.
Fig. totaled up; including all parts. All told, he earned about $700 last week. All told, he has many fine characteristics.
if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times
Fig. an expression that introduces a scolding, usually to a child. Mother: If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, don't leave your clothes in a pile on the floor! Bill: Sorry. "If I've toldyou once, I've told you a thousand times, keep out of my study!" yelled Bob.
little bird told me
Fig. a way of indicating that you do not want to reveal who told you something. (Sometimes used playfully, when you think that the person you are addressing knows or can guess who was the source of your information.) Jill: Thank you for the beautiful present! How did you know I wanted a green silk scarf? Jane: A little bird told me. Bill: How did you find out it was my birthday? Jane: A little bird told me.
as a total All told, there were 550 people there.
in total There were 550 people there, all told.
A little bird told me (so).
something that you say in order to let someone know that you are not going to tell them who gave you the information being discussed 'So who told you she'd got the job?' 'Oh, let's just say a little bird told me so.'
Added up, in summation, as in The ferry will hold 80 passengers all told, or All told, his proposal makes some good points. This idiom, first recorded in 1850, uses the verb tell in the sense of "count."
A phrase used to express surprise about something, as in Jane's getting married again? Do tell. This expression does not necessarily ask the speaker to provide more details but merely expresses one's astonishment. [Colloquial; first half of 1800] For a synonym, see you don't say.
I told you so
I warned you in advance, especially of a bad outcome. For example, It's too bad your guests didn't get along with each other, but remember, I told you so .
See also: told
little bird told one, a
A source one cannot or will not identify gave this information, as in How did you learn they were getting a divorce?-Oh, a little bird told me. Versions of this idiom date from ancient times and appear in numerous proverb collections.
sent. Is that so? (A disinterested way of holding up one end of a conversation.) So, you’re a dentist. Do tell.
if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times
phr. I know I have told you many, many times. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t lean back in that chair.
With everything considered; in all: All told, we won 100 games.