In Reply to: Tell tale signs posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 07, 2010 at 20:22:
: : What is the origin of the phrase "tell tale signs?
: The noun adjective "tell-tale", meaning [a thing] "that reveals or betrays something meant to be kept secret" dates from the late 16th century. Early uses speak of tell-tale documents, objects, faces, etc. (VSD)
Quite so. They are signs that 'tell a tale'.