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spill the beans

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Disclose a secret or reveal something prematurely, as in You can count on little Carol to spill the beans about the surprise. In this colloquial expression, first recorded in 1919, spill means “divulge,” a usage dating from the 1500s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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