From Middle English betellen (“to tell about, calumniate”), from Old English betellan (“to speak about, answer, defend oneself against a charge or accusation”), equivalent to be- (“about, concerning”) + tell.
- (transitive) To speak or tell about; declare; narrate; describe.
- 1938, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (U.S.), Locomotive engineers journal:
- Occasionally we do see some short-line road whose track and equipment are kept in such good repair as to betell of exceptional prosperity; [...]
- 2001, Donna Morrissey, Kit's Law: A Novel:
- Sid's face disappeared and one of his cursed Gods was glaring instead, through gouged-out sockets that betold of his having loved that which was denied him, a law that not even legends could do away with.
- 2009, Dean R. Koontz, Odd Hours:
- The air pooled in stillness because the winds had died and would never breathe again, and the silence betold a world of solid stone, where the planetary core had gone cold, where no rivers ran and seas no longer stirred with tides, [...]
- (transitive) To speak for; answer for; justify.
- (transitive) To lay claim to; win; rescue.
- (transitive, rare) To talk about negatively; slander; calumniate; deride; deceive.