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Spill The Beans – Definition Of This Idiomatic Expression

SPILL THE BEANS – In this topic, we are going to know and learn the meaning of the idiomatic expression “spill the beans”.

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By definition, it means to disclose a secret or reveal something prematurely. The Oxford dictionary defines the phrase as to “reveal secret information unintentionally or indiscreetly”.

It is synonymous to the other idiomatic expressions give the game or show away, let the cat out of the bag, spill the tea, spill the guts, and come clean, among others. All meaning the same thing.


It was first recorded in 1919, the term spill means “divulge” or “let out” and its usage dates back from the 1500s. An example is Edward Hellowes’ Guevara’s Familiar epistles in 1574:

“Although it be a shame to spill it, I will not leaue to say that which… his friends haue said vnto me.”

The derivation of it, on the other hand, is sometimes said to be a voting system used in ancient Greece, according to Phrases.

According to the story, white beans indicated positive votes and black beans are negative. The votes have to be unanimous, so if the collector ‘spilled the beans’ before the vote was complete and a black bean was seen, the vote was halted.

READ ALSO: Beck And Call – Meaning And Origin Of This Phrase

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