spill

1 of 3

verb

spilled ˈspild How to pronounce spill (audio) ˈspilt How to pronounce spill (audio) also spilt ˈspilt How to pronounce spill (audio) ; spilling

transitive verb

1
: to cause or allow especially accidentally or unintentionally to fall, flow, or run out so as to be lost or wasted
2
a
: to cause (blood) to be lost by wounding
b
archaic : kill, destroy
3
: to let out : divulge
spill a secret
4
a
: to relieve (a sail) from the pressure of the wind so as to reef or furl it
b
: to relieve the pressure of (wind) on a sail by coming about or by adjusting the sail with lines
5
: to throw off or out
a horse spilled him

intransitive verb

1
a
: to flow, run, or fall out, over, or off and become wasted, scattered, or lost
water spilling over the dam
b
: to cause or allow something to spill
2
: to spread profusely or beyond bounds
crowds spilled into the streets
3
: to fall from one's place (as on a horse)
spillable adjective
spiller noun

spill

2 of 3

noun (1)

1
: the act or an instance of spilling
especially : a fall from a horse or vehicle or an erect position
2
: something spilled

spill

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: a wooden splinter
2
: a small roll or twist of paper or slip of wood for lighting a fire
Phrases
spill one's guts
: to divulge especially personal information
spill the beans
: to divulge secret or hidden information

Examples of spill in a Sentence

Verb I accidentally spilled coffee all over my new suit. Clean up the flour you spilled on the floor. a puddle of spilled water Water spilled over the dam. She opened the door and light spilled into the room. an interviewer who gets celebrities to spill their secrets Come on, spill it. Who gave you the money? See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Sasabe, Sonora, has been largely abandoned by residents as cartel fighting has spilled into the streets. The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 The Nvidia euphoria spilled over, lifting other chip stocks as well. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 But the hot topic in MLB spring-training clubhouses spilled onto the field this week when teams held photo day dressed in new uniforms designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2024 An estimated 580,000 gallons of water spilled from the burst pipe at the now-vacant plating shop. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 Discussions about Bitcoin spilled into fringes of the web occupied by anarchists and libertarians, who relished the idea of a monetary system divorced from the state. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 23 Feb. 2024 The pair of hip-hop OGs have an extensive collaborative history that’s spilled into the business world. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 13 Feb. 2024 The new legislation could cost bosses who spill sewage in rivers, lakes, and seas their bonus. Alan Murray, Fortune, 12 Feb. 2024 While much ink has been spilled over whether Taylor Swift will be in the audience or not at tonight’s big game, Rubin and Fanatics made sure there was more than enough star power in Vegas. Vogue, 11 Feb. 2024
Noun
It is suspected the spill was caused when a frozen water pipe in the building burst and washed some chemicals into the storm drain. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 Gray seals have a life span of 25-35 years, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but these lives can be cut short by oil spills, boat strikes, fishing gear entanglement, and pollution. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 21 Feb. 2024 But Take Note The sunscreen provides 80 minutes of water resistance and is easy to apply, though some have complained that the bottle doesn’t always stay closed in bags, so watch out for spills. Ambrosia V. Brody, Parents, 20 Feb. 2024 In 2017, when a $1.5-billion fund was set up to ameliorate the catastrophic damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Don was named to the board that decided how to direct the money. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 The spill took place during Carnival season, one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. Abel Alvarado, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 The spills led to closures of the ocean in coastal areas, including Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro and all ocean water swimming areas in Long Beach, both closed until further notice. Laylan Connelly, Orange County Register, 7 Feb. 2024 Piling all the food and drinks onto a coffee table in front of the TV is a recipe for spills and pet pandemonium. Matt Brooks, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 Last summer, just 22 days before his wedding, Preston Cobb was badly burned in a chemical spill at work. Wendy Grossman Kantor, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English spillan; akin to Old English spildan to destroy and perhaps to Latin spolium animal skin, Greek sphallein to cause to fall

Noun (2)

Middle English spille; akin to Middle Low German spīle thin stick, peg

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2b

Noun (1)

circa 1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spill was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near spill

Cite this Entry

“Spill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spill. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

spill

1 of 2 verb
spilled ˈspild How to pronounce spill (audio) ˈspilt How to pronounce spill (audio) also spilt ˈspilt How to pronounce spill (audio) ; spilling
1
: to cause (blood) to flow by wounding or killing
2
a
: to cause or allow to fall, flow, or run out by accident
spilled some flour on the floor
b
: to fall or run out so as to be lost or wasted
the milk spilled
c
: to spread beyond limits
crowds spilled into the streets
3
: to throw off or out
a horse spilled its rider
4
: to let out : give away
spilled the secret
spillable adjective
spiller noun

spill

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: an act or instance of spilling
b
: a fall from a horse or vehicle
2
: something spilled
cleaning up an oil spill

More from Merriam-Webster on spill

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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