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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

spill the beans

reveal secret information, especially unintentionally or indiscreetly. informal
See also: bean, spill
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

spill the beans

To disclose a secret.
See also: bean, spill
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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