A novel β-carboline-based chemosensor, having an acidic NH proton that leads to fluoride-induced deprotonation involving a vivid color change from colorless to yellow is described. The absorption spectrum of the chemosensor in acetonitrile has a peak at 375 nm, which changes to 428 nm with the gradual addition of only fluoride in the solution with a clear isosbestic points at 357 nm and 392 nm. More interestingly, the chemosensor gives a turn-on type of fluorescence at 554 nm in the presence of fluoride. Further it was found that the sensor is highly selective towards fluoride over other anions including chloride, bromide, iodide, nitrate, borate, perchlorate and can quantitatively detect fluoride at ppb level with a limit of detection of 0.02 mg/ L or 20 ppb. The chemosensor was successfully demonstrated to assess the fluoride concentration in the tap water.