Created on 14 July 2013
To reveal secret information accidentally or maliciously, often ruining a surprise or other plan.
It is believed that this phrase originated in ancient Greece, where people cast secret votes by putting white or black beans in a jar (a white bean indicated a positive vote and a black bean was negative). If someone accidentally or deliberately knocked over the jar, the beans would pour out and the ‘secret’ would be revealed early, so they would have “spilled the beans”.

“We’ve arranged a surprise party for Sarah on Wednesday. Please don't spill the beans.”

“I wish you hadn't told me who the new boss is going to be – now everyone is trying to make me spill the beans.”

“Come on, spill the beans! What did you buy me for my birthday?”

“Why did you tell Trudy? You know she can't keep a secret! She spilled the beans to everyone yesterday!”

Spill the beans