Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: spillan 'to kill, destroy, waste'

spill

1 verb
     
spill
spill1 S3 past tense and past participle spilt especially British English or spilled especially American English
1 [intransitive and transitive] if you spill a liquid, or if it spills, it accidentally flows over the edge of a container [↪ pour]:
Katie almost spilled her milk.
spill something down/on/over something
Oh no! I've spilt coffee all down my shirt!
spill on/over etc
He slipped and the wine spilled all over the carpet.
2 [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if people or things spill out of somewhere, they move or fall out in large numbers [= pour]
spill out/into/onto etc
Crowds from the theatre were spilling onto the street.
3

spill the beans

informal to tell something that someone else wanted you to keep a secret
4

spill your guts

American English informal to tell someone all about your private life, or about a personal secret
5

spill blood

literary to kill or wound people

➔ cry over spilt milk

at cry1 (3)

spill into/onto something

phrasal verb
if light spills onto or into something, it shines through a window, door, hole etc onto something else:
The morning light spilled into the room.

spill over

phrasal verb
if a problem or bad situation spills over, it spreads and begins to affect other places, people etc
spill over into
The conflict might spill over into neighbouring towns.

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