What Does Kiss and Tell Mean?

To Kiss and Tell Meaning

Definition: To reveal one’s romantic adventures to friends, family, or the public; to betray an intimate secret.

Origin of Kiss and Tell

This expression comes from the late-1600s. One of its first uses in print was in Charles Cotton’s 1675 Burlesque.

  • And if he needs must kiss and tell, I’ll kick him headlong into Hell.

The meaning of this phrase comes from its literal interpretation: if someone kissed someone else and then told others about it. However, this expression can refer to more than just kissing; it can be about any romantic exploit where the teller is betraying the intimacy that took place.

In most cases, even today, kissing and telling is behavior that is frowned upon.

Examples of Kiss and Tell

what does I dont kiss and tell meanIn the example below, two friends are discussing a recent date that one of them had.

Ted: Hey! You had a date last weekend, right? Did it go well?

Rufio: Yeah! It went great! We were a great match, and had an immediate connection. We are already planning to see each other again this weekend.

Ted: That’s great! So did anything happen after the date?

Rufio: What do you mean?

Ted: I mean, did anything physical happen?

Rufio: None of your business! I don’t kiss and tell!

what is kiss and tellThis dialogue shows two friends talking together about their past boyfriends and girlfriends.

Zayna: Ugh, I am sick of dating. I’m done with it. Maybe forever.

Ben: There’s no way that’s true. Maybe you just haven’t found the right person yet.

Zayna: I’ve dated a lot of guys. If there were a right person, I would have found him by now.

Ben: Really? I’ve only dated two women before. How many men have you dated?

Zayna: It’s a secret. I don’t kiss and tell!

More Examples

The excerpt below talks about how brothel workers do not reveal their customers. It is an important part of their business philosophy.

  • In Wednesday, when the establishment’s 10 female workers had the day off, Love Ranch Manager T.J. Moore stood outside as reporters waited for a tour of the brothel. Moore wouldn’t say how often Odom visited.
  • “We don’t kiss and tell,” she said. “That’s why we kept him so well-hidden.” –LA Times

This excerpt is about a singer and how he didn’t give away too much information about his relationship with his ex-wife. Instead, he keeps that information private.

  • Yet as much as he reveals, he doesn’t kiss and tell or point fingers, and shoulders the full blame for his failed first marriage to actress Julianne Phillips. –USA Today


The phrase kiss and tell means to have romantic interactions and then to tell others outside of the relationship what happened.