spill the beans

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spill the beans

To reveal something that was meant to be a secret. We had everything organized for Bruce's surprise party, but Kate accidentally spilled the beans to him at work. All right, spill the beans! What's going on?
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans

 and spill the works
Fig. to give away a secret or a surprise. There is a surprise party for Heidi on Wednesday. Please don't spill the beans. Paul spilled the works about Heidi's party.
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans

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.
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans

INFORMAL
COMMON If you spill the beans, you reveal the truth about something secret or private. He was scared to death I was going to spill the beans to the cops. Come on, spill the beans! Whose fault was it? Note: This expression has a number of possible explanations. One is derived from an ancient practice of voting by placing coloured beans in one of a number of jars or pots, then tipping the beans out and counting them. Another is an informal description of vomiting.
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans

reveal secret information, especially unintentionally or indiscreetly. informal
See also: bean, spill

spill the ˈbeans

(informal) tell somebody something that should be kept secret or private: We were trying to keep it a secret from Pete, but Marcia spilled the beans.Come on, spill the beans! What did your father say? OPPOSITE: keep something under your hat
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans

and spill the works
tv. to give away a secret or a surprise. There is a surprise party for Heidi on Wednesday. Please don’t spill the beans. Sorry, I didn’t mean to spill the works.
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans

To disclose a secret.
See also: bean, spill

spill the beans, to

To give away a secret. This slangy Americanism combines two earlier meanings: of spill, meaning to talk, and of beans, meaning information. Although these date from the sixteenth and thirteenth centuries respectively, the cliché has been around only since the 1920s or so. It is particularly common in detective stories and novels, in which the opportunity for revealing important secrets is a common occurrence.
See also: spill
References in periodicals archive ?
So next time someone spills the beans on his mum's fruitcake life and some royalist lackey says "why can't they think of her poor boys' feelings?", remind them how her boys think of other creatures' feelings, then chase the lickspittle and let your dog rip their head off.
Fans will have to wait and see if June manages to say 'I do' before best man Gabriel spills the beans.
Telly favourites Ant and Dec drop in for a chat and 21 Grams star Naomi Watts spills the beans about bessie mate Nicole Kidman.
She spills the beans to pal Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) on their friend Miranda's wedding day after a biopsy reveals it is cancerous.
But the real dad is groom Steve (Simon Gregson) and Tracy spills the beans to the horror of all.
VETERAN comedian Bob Monkhouse spills the beans on some of the most famous funnymen in the business.