\ˈspil \
spilled\ˈspild, ˈspilt \ also spilt\ˈspilt \; spilling

Definition of spill 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cause or allow especially accidentally or unintentionally to fall, flow, or run out so as to be lost or wasted

2a : to cause (blood) to be lost by wounding

b archaic : kill, destroy

3 : to let out : divulge spill a secret

4a : 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

1a : 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)

spill one's guts

: to divulge especially personal information

spill the beans

: to divulge secret or hidden information


noun (1)

Definition of spill (Entry 2 of 3)

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

2 : something spilled


noun (2)

Definition of spill (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a wooden splinter

2 : a small roll or twist of paper or slip of wood for lighting a fire

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Other Words from spill


spillable \ˈspi-​lə-​bəl \ adjective
spiller noun

Examples of spill in a Sentence


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?
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First Known Use of spill


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

History and Etymology for spill


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

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Dictionary Entries near spill







spill box

Statistics for spill

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Time Traveler for spill

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

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More Definitions for spill



English Language Learners Definition of spill

: to cause or allow (something) to fall, flow, or run over the edge of a container usually in an accidental way

: to fall or flow over the edge of a container

: to move or spread out into a wider place or area


\ˈspil \
spilled\ˈspild \ also spilt\ˈspilt \; spilling

Kids Definition of spill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cause or allow to fall, flow, or run out so as to be wasted or scattered I knocked the glass over and spilled my milk.

2 : to flow or run out, over, or off and become wasted or scattered The milk spilled. So I always go as far as the ford, where the river spills across the path …— Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh

3 : to cause (blood) to flow by wounding

4 : to make known I accidentally spilled the secret.



Kids Definition of spill (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of spilling

2 : a fall especially from a horse or vehicle

3 : something spilled Please mop up the spill on the floor.

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More from Merriam-Webster on spill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spill

Spanish Central: Translation of spill

Nglish: Translation of spill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spill for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spill

What made you want to look up spill? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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