a simple past tense and past participle of spill1.

Related formsun·spilt, adjective



verb (used with object), spilled or spilt, spill·ing.

to cause or allow to run or fall from a container, especially accidentally or wastefully: to spill a bag of marbles; to spill milk.
to shed (blood), as in killing or wounding.
to scatter: to spill papers all over everything.
  1. to let the wind out of (a sail).
  2. to lose (wind) from a sail.
to cause to fall from a horse, vehicle, or the like: His horse spilled him.
Informal. to divulge, disclose, or tell: Don't spill the secret.

verb (used without object), spilled or spilt, spill·ing.

(of a liquid, loose particles, etc.) to run or escape from a container, especially by accident or in careless handling.


a spilling, as of liquid.
a quantity spilled.
the mark made by something spilled.
Also called spill light. superfluous or useless light rays, as from theatrical or photographic lighting units.
Theater. an area of a stage illuminated by spill light.
a throw or fall from a horse, vehicle, or the like: She broke her arm in a spill.


    spill the beans. bean(def 11).
    spill/toss one's cookies. cookie(def 7).

Origin of spill

before 950; 1920–25 for def 6; Middle English spillen to kill, destroy, shed (blood), Old English spillan to kill; cognate with Middle High German, Middle Dutch spillen; akin to spoil
Related formsspill·a·ble, adjective, nounnon·spill·a·ble, adjectiveun·spilled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spilt

Contemporary Examples of spilt

  • Communities were spilt into smaller and smaller units, while signs in villages warned against speaking Circassian in public areas.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Lost Tribe Of Sochi

    Peter Schwartzstein

    February 9, 2014

Historical Examples of spilt

British Dictionary definitions for spilt



a past tense and past participle of spill 1



verb spills, spilling, spilt or spilled (mainly tr)

(when intr, usually foll by from, out of, etc) to fall or cause to fall from or as from a container, esp unintentionally
to disgorge (contents, occupants, etc) or (of contents, occupants, etc) to be disgorgedthe car spilt its passengers onto the road; the crowd spilt out of the theatre
to shed (blood)
Also: spill the beans informal to disclose something confidential
nautical to let (wind) escape from a sail or (of the wind) to escape from a sail


informal a fall or tumble
short for spillway
a spilling of liquid, etc, or the amount spilt
Australian the declaring of several political jobs vacant when one higher up becomes sothe Prime Minister's resignation could mean a Cabinet spill
Derived Formsspiller, noun

Word Origin for spill

Old English spillan to destroy; related to spildan, Old High German spaltan to split; see spoil




a splinter of wood or strip of twisted paper with which pipes, fires, etc, are lit
a small peg or rod made of metal

Word Origin for spill

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German spilla, Middle Dutch spile stake
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for spilt



Old English spillan "destroy, kill," variant of spildan, from Proto-Germanic *spelthijanan (cf. Old High German spildan "to spill," Old Saxon spildian, Old Norse spilla "to destroy," Middle Dutch spillen "to waste"), from PIE *spel- "to split, break off" (cf. Middle Dutch spalden, Old High German spaltan "to split;" for further cognates, see spoil). Related: Spilled; spilling.

Sense of "let (liquid) fall or run out" developed mid-14c. from use of the word in reference to shedding blood (early 12c.). Intransitive sense is from 1650s. Spill the beans recorded by 1910 in a sense of "spoil the situation;" to cry for spilt milk (usually with negative) is attested from 1738.



1845, originally "a throw from a horse," from spill (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with spilt


In addition to the idiom beginning with spill

  • spill the beans

also see:

  • shed (spill) blood
  • take a spill
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.