tell against

tell against (someone or something)

To impact on or affect someone or something in a particularly disadvantageous, detrimental, or otherwise adverse manner. The lineup of superstar athletes should have told against the opposition, an band of newcomers and B-listers, but the underdogs' tenacity and energy saw them manage a stunning upset. Not being able to represent life as it really is will unfortunately tell against writers and artists living under this oppressive regime.
See also: tell

tell against

v.
To have an adverse impact on someone or something: Their lack of experience may tell against them during the job interview.
See also: tell
References in classic literature ?
victory to the Mohicans!" cried Hawkeye, once more elevating the butt of the long and fatal rifle; "a finishing blow from a man without a cross will never tell against his honor, nor rob him of his right to the scalp."
Let the hurricane tear up its thousand huge fragments; yet what will that tell against the accumulated labour of myriads of architects at work night and day, month after month?
The rules of attack and of self-defence are alike unknown to him; he can neither give nor take; he is attracted by women, and stands in awe of them; his very good qualities tell against him, he is all generosity and modesty, and completely innocent of mercenary designs.
Begin it early, and do it well; and there is no antecedent to it, in any origin or station, that will tell against us with the Almighty, or with ourselves.'
There are circumstances in connexion with it that tell against me.
"There can be no doubt," I said, "that the facts, as you have stated them, appear to tell against us, but "
"Such a fact must tell against the theory that the man who breaks them is influenced by any general hatred of Napoleon.
Before that El Tri had won seven straight matches following manager Gerardo Martino's appointment at the start of the year and they should be able to make their superior quality tell against a side ranked 83 places below them in the Fifa rankings.
The Blues' furthest progression in the Champions League to date was their semi-final defeat against Real Madrid in 2016, and Mahrez feels City's plethora of quality could tell against Tottenham to reach the last four again.
This right-handed track isn't ideal but Amy Murphy's pride and joy can make his class tell against three top opponents.
The Toffees' missing link didn't cost them against Hadjuk, but it will tell against better opponents.
Aarons said: "You could tell against Spurs nobody was thinking about the summer.
Oldham nished last season as runners-up in the League One play-o nal and they made their quality tell against the inexperienced Bears playing only their second professional game.
The power shortages are in part a result of these problems and popular frustration will tell against the government unless it is seen to move effectively to improve the national infrastructure.
Back down in handicap company and on a track where he's put in a series of useful performances, Medermit is fancied to make his class tell against lower-weighted rivals.