A reflexive, often habitual behavior, one occurring in a context that often features attempts at deception by persons under psychological stress (such as a poker game or police interrogation), that reveals information that the person exhibiting the behavior is attempting to withhold.
From Middle English tellen, from Old English tellan, from Proto-Germanic *taljaną, *talzijaną, from Proto-Germanic *talą, *talǭ, from Proto-Indo-European *dol-. Cognate with Saterland Frisian tälle, West Frisian telle, West Frisian fertelle, Dutch tellen, Low German tellen, German zählen, Faroese telja. More at tale.
From Arabic تَلّ ("hill, elevation") or Hebrew תֵּל ("hill"), from Proto-Semitic *tall-.
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