American English

Definition of telling adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1having a strong or important effect; effective a telling argument Although he didn't score a goal, Tevez made a telling contribution to the game.
  2. 2showing effectively what someone or something is really like, but often without intending to The number of homeless people is a telling comment on the state of society.
adverb He tellingly took a seat next to his secretary and not next to his wife.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: telling