Main definitions of spill in English

: spill1spill2

spill1

Pronunciation /spil/ /spɪl/

See synonyms for spill

Translate spill into Spanish

transitive verbspilled, spilt

[with object]
  • 1Cause or allow (liquid) to flow over the edge of its container, especially unintentionally.

    ‘you'll spill that tea if you're not careful’
    • ‘azaleas spilled cascades of flowers over the pathways’
    knock over, tip over, upset, overturn
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object (of liquid) flow over the edge of its container.
      ‘some of the wine spilled on to the floor’
      • ‘light spilled into the room from the landing’
      overflow, flow, pour, run, slop, slosh, splash, splatter
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(with reference to the contents of something) empty out or be emptied out on to a surface.
      with object ‘my backpack split, spilling my clothes and books onto the floor’
      • ‘the bag fell to the floor, spilling out its contents’
      • ‘passengers' baggage had spilled out of the hold’
    3. 1.3no object, with adverbial of direction (of a number of people) move out of somewhere quickly.
      ‘diners can spill out into the courtyard’
      • ‘students began to spill out of the building’
      stream, pour, surge, swarm, flood, throng, crowd, mill
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Reveal (confidential information) to someone.

    • ‘there's nothing worse than friends who spill secrets’
    • ‘she ought not to be spilling out her troubles to you’
    reveal, disclose, divulge, let out, leak, blurt out, babble, betray, make known, tell
    View synonyms
  • 3Cause to fall off a horse or bicycle.

    • ‘the horse was wrenched off course, spilling his rider’
    unseat, throw, dislodge, unhorse
    View synonyms
  • 4British (in the context of ball games) drop (the ball).

  • 5Sailing
    Let (wind) out of a sail, typically by slackening the sheets.

noun

  • 1A quantity of liquid that has spilled or been spilled.

    ‘wipe up spills immediately’
    • ‘a 25-ton oil spill’
    • ‘their shifting spill of lantern-light’
    • ‘Clean both stone surfaces daily with a soft cloth using mild dish soap, and wipe off any spills immediately.’
    • ‘Wipe up spills in the refrigerator promptly to avoid staining and odors.’
    • ‘Following a regular maintenance schedule and wiping up any spills immediately should keep the interior of the car attractive and comfortable.’
    • ‘It is easily softened by solvents and grease, so wipe up spills promptly and do not use solvents or solvent-based polishes on it.’
    • ‘Wipe up spills at once to prevent spots that require refinishing.’
    • ‘Caroline took a piece of rag they reserved to wipe off any spills.’
    • ‘Wipe up any spills with a clean, wet cloth when the cooktop is cool.’
    • ‘Use caution in applying it, and wipe up spills with a soapy detergent.’
    • ‘Wipe up spills promptly to avoid excessive smoke during the cleaning cycle.’
    • ‘The bartender was doing the usual, polishing glasses and wiping the spills off the counter.’
    • ‘Fill portable heaters outdoors, wipe up spills, and do not use old or contaminated fuel.’
    • ‘For superficial spills simply wipe away excess with a clean warm absorbent cloth and air to dry.’
    • ‘Heavy spills can be wiped off with a damp cloth when the burner is completely cold.’
    • ‘‘I'll help clean it up,’ he said as he grabbed my shirt, wiping away at the spill on my chest.’
    • ‘Wipe up the spill quickly and rub the spot vigorously with your palm or with a cloth dipped in a small amount of furniture polish.’
    • ‘Check your work carefully, inspecting for missed spots, spills, drips, and other problems.’
    • ‘Wipe up any spills promptly with a damp soft cloth or paper towel.’
    • ‘Many spills can introduce oils into your carpet which attract dirt and help lead to a dingy looking carpet.’
    • ‘The rock keeps the area clean and allows any small spills to evaporate rather than be absorbed into the soil.’
    • ‘I am concerned about crumbs or spills falling through the gaps.’
    1. 1.1An instance of a liquid spilling or being spilled.
      ‘he was absolved from any blame for the oil spill’
      • ‘Other refuges have been battered by oil drilling, toxic spills and massive floods, and few have had the political or financial muscle to defend themselves.’
      • ‘And, once she had invented a slit valve that allowed liquid to be sucked out but prevented accidental spills, Mrs Haberman thought the hardest part was over.’
      • ‘And an oil spill or industrial disaster can wipe out big chunks of the environment.’
      • ‘Nobody came forward to say the spill had been an accident, so the assumption must be that it was a purposeful dumping, and one that the perpetrators got away with.’
      • ‘In the middle of last month the exit road to the M50 was sealed off following a spill following a two-vehicle collision.’
      • ‘Each facility must develop procedures for handling accidents and chemical spills.’
      • ‘This information is crucial to the safety of the pharmacy staff and to their customers if a spill or other accident occurs.’
      • ‘Cooking fuel should be stored upright and away from your food, in case of an accidental spill.’
      • ‘These exposures are usually the result of accidents, spills, or equipment failure.’
      • ‘The act also required that, by 2015, all tankers operating in U.S. waters be double-hulled to protect against spills.’
      • ‘Pack a container of wet wipes in the car for accidental spills.’
      • ‘Authorities say a hazardous spill has been contained following a train collision just south of Chicago.’
      • ‘We should view the Prestige oil spill not as a fluke or one-time accident.’
      • ‘Any of these mechanical methods for cleanup can be used immediately after a spill without prior approval from government officials.’
      • ‘Although pink salmon and herring catches peaked in the two years immediately following the spill, the two fisheries have since collapsed.’
      • ‘No contingency plans for oil spills have been made.’
      • ‘There might have been fewer oil tankers out there and fewer oil spills.’
      • ‘As chemicals are dumped into the sea and oil spills occur, the turtles are fighting a losing battle.’
      • ‘Many human deaths have resulted from explosions or toxic cleaning chemicals in oil spills.’
      • ‘Then there is the persistent threat of an oil spill.’
  • 2A fall from a horse or bicycle.

    ‘Granddad took a spill while riding the bay mare’
    • ‘At one point in the show he told amusingly of how he took a spill in the road, and some of the pages fell out and were scattered.’
    • ‘One of the reasons I'm back right now riding after the terrible spill I had was the attachment I have to the horse that did this to me.’
    • ‘Take, for instance, the minor scrapes you can get from a mishap in the free-weight room, or from a spill on your bike.’
    fall, tumble, accident
    View synonyms

Phrases

    spill blood
    • Kill or wound someone.

      ‘‘Stop spilling our blood so we can stop spilling your blood,’ the message added.’
      • ‘He's talking about a man who spilled his blood for the United States of America.’
      • ‘They spilt their blood on foreign lands for us so that we can be free of oppression and divisiveness and so that this nation can be united.’
      • ‘But I don't think they rejoice over spilling our blood nearly as much as they rejoice over the fear they put in our hearts.’
      • ‘These people murdered the prophets; do you think they will stop spilling our blood?’
      • ‘This woman would have shot me down without any qualms, why should I feel sorry for spilling her blood?’
      • ‘If you cannot give that promise, and will not release yourself from your vow, I have no choice but to spill your blood out upon the sand.’
      • ‘All of you shall submit unquestioningly to my dominion, and I shall spill your blood if need be!’
      • ‘Spill it, son, before I spill your blood for your crimes.’
      • ‘For the first time since they saw me, they feared me more than they wanted to spill my blood.’
    spill the beans
    informal
    • Reveal secret information unintentionally or indiscreetly.

      • ‘In addition to telling us the good, the not-so-good and the surprising news about your relationship with food, you also spilled the beans on your deepest, darkest dieting secrets.’
      • ‘The girls scampered outside to play, so Laurie couldn't pump them for information - little children will usually spill the beans without meaning to.’
      • ‘I am certainly disappointed that since her death so many people that she trusted have broken that trust and for financial gain have spilt the beans.’
      • ‘Eleven Italian masters were tracked down in Belgium after a doctor from Milan spilt the beans on a Belgian art dealer.’
      • ‘So why are so many politicians so prickly when one of their number spills the beans on another?’
      • ‘It's not only the British insiders who're spilling the beans.’
      • ‘I am surprised that the affair happened, but I can't in all honesty be astonished that she has finally spilled the beans.’
      • ‘I've spilled the beans and probably deserve to be cast into the outer darkness for offending the code concerning ‘journalistic ethics’.’
      • ‘I went to the agency and spilled the beans - I was very confused about everything.’
      • ‘Webb spilled the beans to Taylor and Ferguson never forgave him.’
    spill one's guts
    informal
    • Reveal copious information to someone in an uninhibited way.

      • ‘She spills her guts and begs him not to tell Izzy.’
      • ‘There's something inherently unglamorous about someone sitting in front of a screen, spilling their guts.’
      • ‘But spilling my guts on an Internet blog diary everyday is not something that I'm into.’
      • ‘Stephenson sat on the sink in his dressing-room while he spilled his guts about his marriage problems.’
      • ‘There's something about the Internet that encourages us to spill our guts, often in rather outrageous ways.’
      • ‘I was horrifically guilt-stricken and tempted to call his wife and spill my guts but I never did.’
      • ‘I can rant or cry or laugh or be stupid or spill my guts, and she understands.’
      • ‘If she feels the urge to spill her guts again, recommend that she speak to one of her friends instead.’
      • ‘Well, it's not like he spills his guts to me or anything.’
      • ‘If you don't wind up spilling your guts, at least sound her out on the possibility of visiting her.’

Phrasal Verbs

    spill over
    • (of a bad situation or strong emotion) reach a point at which it can no longer be controlled or contained.

      ‘years of frustration spilled over into violence’
      • ‘Video footage of her killing has made her into a symbol of the struggle for democracy, which this year spilt over into violence.’
      • ‘Most news media have conducted a blackout of the attacks, which some said have spilled over into the streets.’
      • ‘Their enthusiasm spilled over the footlights, enthusiasm always does.’
      • ‘This new form of storytelling has even spilled over into journalism.’
      • ‘In addition, the aftermath of episodes of bullying may spill over to affect other service users in the ward community.’
      • ‘The benefits achieved in pensions efficiency are spilling over into other areas, notably the much maligned endowment.’
      • ‘This conviction spilled over into all areas of life.’
      • ‘Anger spilled over at the Scouts Association's annual general meeting last week concerning a proposed rise in annual fees over the next two years.’
      • ‘She lost her job shortly afterwards, as the virtual anger spilled over into real life.’
      • ‘Are fears that ethnic strife may spill over to the neighbors exaggerated?’

Origin

Old English spillan ‘kill, destroy, waste, shed (blood’); of unknown origin.

Main definitions of spill in English

: spill1spill2

spill2

Pronunciation /spil/ /spɪl/

See synonyms for spill

Translate spill into Spanish

noun

  • A thin strip of wood or paper used for lighting a fire, candle, pipe, etc.

    • ‘In front of us stood a low oaken table on which there was more mead and wine, and, appropriately for the room, a collection of long clay pipes, loose tobacco and spills.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘sharp fragment of wood’): obscurely related to spile. The current sense dates from the early 19th century.