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

Example Sentences

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

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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
spill one's guts
: to make known especially personal information
spill the beans
: to give a secret away by talking without thinking
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

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