c. 1300, "to count," from Old French nombrer "to count, reckon," from nombre (n.) "number" (see number (n.)). Meaning "to assign a distinctive number to" is late 14c.; that of "to ascertain the number of" is from early 15c. Related: Numbered; numbering.
Old English tellan "to reckon, calculate, number, compute; consider, think, esteem, account" (past tense tealde, past participle teald), from Proto-Germanic *taljan "to mention in order" (source also of Old Saxon tellian "tell," Old Norse telja "to count, number; to tell, say," Old Frisian tella "to count; to tell," Middle Dutch and Dutch tellen, Old Saxon talon "to count, reckon," Danish tale "to speak," Old High German zalon, German zählen "to count, reckon"), from PIE root *del- (2) "to count, reckon" (see tale).
Meaning "to narrate, announce, relate" in English is from c. 1000; that of "to make known by speech or writing, announce" is from early 12c. Sense of "to reveal or disclose" is from c. 1400; that of "to act as an informer, to 'peach' " is recorded from 1901. Meaning "to order (someone to do something)" is from 1590s. To tell (someone) off "reprimand" is from 1919.
Original sense in teller and phrase tell time. For sense evolution, compare French conter "to count," raconter "to recount;" Italian contare, Spanish contar "to count, recount, narrate;" German zählen "to count," erzählen "to recount, narrate." Klein also compares Hebrew saphar "he counted," sipper "he told."
1550s, "action of enumerating," from French énumération, from Latin enumerationem (nominative enumeratio) "a counting up," noun of action from past-participle stem of enumerare "to reckon up, count over, enumerate," from assimilated form of ex "out, out of" (see ex-) + numerare "to count, number," from numerus "number" (see number (n.)). Meaning "a list, catalogue" is from 1724.
"to count; ascertain or tell over the number of;" hence, "mention in detail, recapitulate," 1640s, from or modeled on Latin enumeratus, past participle of enumerare "to reckon up, count over, enumerate," from assimilated form of ex "out, out of" (see ex-) + numerare "to count, number," from numerus "number" (see number (n.)). Middle English had annumerate (early 15c.). Related: Enumerated; enumerating.
German title equivalent to count or earl, originally (from the time of Charlemagne) "military governor of a border province," but the office soon became hereditary in the Holy Roman Empire, 1550s, from Middle Dutch marcgrave (Dutch markgraaf), literally "count of the border," from Old High German marcgravo; second element from graf "count, earl" (Old High German gravo, gravjo), according to Boutkan a designation of rank that developed in Franconian, probably based on Medieval Latin -gravius, from Greek grapheus "scribe." For first element see mark (n.1). Equivalent of marquis. His wife was a margravine.
"capable of being counted or reckoned," 1570s, from Latin numerabilis "that can be counted or numbered," from numerare "to count, number," from numerus "a number" (see number (n.)). Related: Numerably.