tell a/the tale

tell a/the tale

To depict or reveal the truth about a situation. The report tells a tale of corruption and abuse that has rocked the film industry to its core. The marauding soldiers ensured no civilians survived who could tell the tale.
See also: tale, tell

tell the tale

If something tells the tale about a particular situation, it shows the truth about it. Had he been fired from all of those jobs, or had he quit? I went through the papers again, looking for references that might tell the tale. Note: You can also say that something tells its own tale. A full 60 minutes without a point is a statistic that tells its own tale. Note: People also use the much more frequent adjective tell-tale to mean the same thing. They wanted to surprise the man and not give him time to hide any tell-tale evidence. In every room are tell-tale signs of a once better life.
See also: tale, tell