Tell Apart

Subscribe to Idioms Online on YouTube

Privacy | Contact

Subscribe to Idioms Online on YouTube

Meaning of Idiom

Tell (someone, something) Apart: to be able to distinguish one thing or person from another; to see the difference between two things or two people. 1,2


Tell apart is usually used with can or cannot as in "I can easily tell the twins apart, but I've known them all my life."


"I can't tell most of these new cars apart."

"The Wilson twins were so identical that Lisa was allowed to wear a hat in class so the teacher could tell her apart from Laura."


Used since the first half of the 1900's 3

Tell in this idiom is used in the sense of to determine, discern, identify, understand, etc.

1. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
2. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Apart Idioms
Come Apart at the Seams

More Apart Idioms

This page contains one or more affiliate links. See full affiliate disclosure.

© 2018 by IdiomsOnline.