English Idioms and Slang

To spill the beans

= to confess; reveal a secret, to tell the truth, usually accidentally.

To Spill (verb) = to cause something to fall out of a container, such as water from a glass
Beans (noun) = the kidney-shaped seeds of certain vegetables such as peas

To spill the beans is similar to let the cat out of the bag.

  • Mom already knows about your speeding ticket, I spilled the beans to her this morning.
  • Pete is always spilling the beans about everyone, in fact yesterday he told me a secret about his cousin!

Spilled or Spilt?

Originally only Spilt was the correct form. But when United States became its own country (and not under British rule), they started using the –ed form at the end of past tense and past participle verbs.
Learnt became learned, spelt became spelled and spilt became spilled.

Now both spilled and spilt are correct though it depends on the country.
Spilled is used in United States while Spilt is still used in UK, Australia, etc.


Have you ever accidentally spilt the beans? When?



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