A colleague on another language board suggested that tell, a noun, be added to our dictionary.
He provided this sample of the term in use:
Source: NY Times,
Starting this past weekend, more international flights bound for the United States have had plainclothes air marshals mixed in with passengers. Extra teams of specially trained security officers have been roaming airports looking for tells among the passengers — furtive glances or people who nervously open and close bags repeatedly.
Here’s another example:
Crappy family situation: drugs and the law - Page 8 - Other Topics ...
15 posts - 10 authors - Last post: Nov 28
Batteries dying quickly was actually a tell of sorts. Note, I’m not a conspiracy nut and don’t claim that this is fact. Klompy is offline ...
forumserver.twoplustwo.com/34/other-other...law.../index8.html - Cached
And another, definition plus examples:
‘Tells’ are typically small fragments of body language associated with particular habits and behaviors. They are often also associated with one person only.
Tells are triggered by emotions such as excitement, anxiety and anger.
They are often subconscious and thus are useful signals of what the person is really thinking.
They may be very visible actions, such as scratching and vocalizing, or may be fleeting micro-movements, such as twitches of facial muscles.
A poker player scratches his ear when he has a good hand and rubs his nose when he has a bad hand. He is also surprised when some people seem to be able to tell whether he has a good or bad hand.
I wonder if this might be a shortened form of tell-tale?