that told almost like a shot


Senior Member

I came across a sentence in The Crime Doctor by E. W. Hornung that made me a bit confused.
"that told almost like a shot"


"Your patient, I devoutly hope, will be my poor wife, who really seems to me to be almost losing her reason"--but with that the husband quite lost his voice.

"Perhaps we can find it for her," said Dollar, despising the pert professional optimism that told almost like a shot "It is a thing more often mislaid than really lost."

Qs: Does it mean that his professional optimism made him express forcibly and quickly that the man's wife might not have lost her mind but it got misled?

Thank you!
  • Joetofu

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    No, it means that the "pert professional optimism" had an effect that was almost as strong as a shot. This is tell in the "have a serious effect" sense.
    9. intransitive verb​
    If an unpleasant or tiring experience begins to tell, it begins to have a serious effect.​
    It wasn't long before the strain began to tell on our relationship.