Meaning of telltale

tell•tale

Pronunciation: (tel'tāl"), [key]
— n.
  1. a person who heedlessly or maliciously reveals private or confidential matters; tattler; talebearer.
  2. a thing serving to reveal or disclose something.
  3. any of various indicating or registering devices, as a time clock.
  4. a gauge on an organ for indicating the air pressure.
  5. an indicator showing the position of a ship's rudder.
  6. a row of strips hung over a track to warn train crew members on freight trains that a low bridge, tunnel, or the like is approaching.
  7. (on a sailboat) a feather, string, or similar device, often attached to the port and starboard shrouds and to the backstay, to indicate the relative direction of the wind.
  8. a narrow piece of metal across the front wall of a court, parallel to and extending 17 inches (43.2 cm) above the base: a ball striking this is an out.
—adj.
  1. that reveals or betrays what is not intended to be known: a telltale blush.
  2. giving notice or warning of something, as a mechanical device.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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