- The definition of a spill is a fall, or an instance where you cause liquid or some other substance to come out of its container.
- When you tumble down stairs, this is an example of when you take a spill.
- When you knock over your glass and soda goes everywhere, the soda is an example of a spill.
- Spill is to empty out on a surface, to overflow over the edge of a container, or to cause a liquid to overflow, or to reveal a secret, or to leave somewhere quickly as part of a big group.
- When all of the pennies come out of the penny jar and onto the table, this is an example of when they spill out onto a table.
- When a pot overflows and water comes over the edge, this is an example of when water spills over.
- When you accidentally knock over the glass containing your soda, this is an example of when you spill.
- When you accidentally blurt out your friend's secret to her husband, this is an example of when you spill the secret.
- When a huge crowd all leaves a movie theatre at once, this is an example of when the crowd spills out.
transitive verbspilled or Chiefly Brit.spilt, spill′ing
- to allow or cause, esp. unintentionally or accidentally, to run, fall, or flow over from a container, usually so as to result in loss or waste: who spilled the milk?
- to shed (blood)
- to lessen the pressure of (wind) on (a sail) as by reducing the area of sail being acted upon
- to scatter at random from a receptacle or container
- to cause or allow (a rider, load, etc.) to fall off; throw off
- Informal to let (something secret) become known; divulge
- to kill
- to destroy or ruin
- to squander; waste
Origin of spillMiddle English spillen from Old English spillan, to destroy, squander, akin to Middle High German spillen, to split from Indo-European base an unverified form (s)p(h)el-, to split, split off from source spall, Classical Latin spolium
- the act of spilling
- the amount spilled
- a fall or tumble, as from a horse or from a vertical position
spill one's guts
- a splinter, thin roll of paper, etc., set on fire and used to light a pipe, candle, etc.
- a paper cone or roll used as a container
Origin of spillMiddle English spille, probably via dialect, dialectal spil from Old Norse spila, a splinter, akin to spile
verbspilled, or spilt spill·ing, spills
- To cause or allow (a substance) to run or fall out of a container.
- To scatter (objects) from containment: spilled the armload of books on the desk.
- To shed (blood).
- Nautical a. To relieve the pressure of wind on (a sail).b. To cause or allow (wind) to be lost from a sail.
- To cause to fall: The rider was spilled by his horse.
- Informal To disclose (something previously unknown); divulge: The witness spilled all the details about the suspect.
- To run or fall out of a container or containment.
- To come to the ground suddenly and involuntarily.
- To pour out or spread beyond limits: Fans spilled onto the playing field.
- The act of spilling.
- An amount spilled.
- A fall, as from a horse.
- A spillway.
Origin of spillMiddle English spillen to shed blood, to spill from Old English spillan to kill
- A piece of wood or rolled paper used to light a fire.
- A small peg or rod, especially one used as a plug; a spile.
Origin of spillMiddle English spille
(third-person singular simple present spills, present participle spilling, simple past and past participle spilled or spilt)
- To drop something so that it spreads out or makes a mess; to pour.
- I spilled some sticky juice on the kitchen floor.
- (intransitive) To spread out or fall out, as above.
- Some sticky juice spilled onto the kitchen floor.
- To drop something that was intended to be caught.
- To mar; to damage; to destroy by misuse; to waste.
- To cause to flow out and be lost or wasted; to shed.
- To cover or decorate with slender pieces of wood, metal, ivory, etc.; to inlay.
- (nautical) To relieve a sail from the pressure of the wind, so that it can be more easily reefed or furled, or to lessen the strain.
- (countable) A mess of something that has been dropped.
- A fall or stumble.
- The bruise is from a bad spill he had last week.
- A small stick or piece of paper used to light a candle, cigarette etc by the transfer of a flame from a fire.
- A slender piece of anything.
- A peg or pin for plugging a hole, as in a cask; a spile.
- A metallic rod or pin.
- (mining) One of the thick laths or poles driven horizontally ahead of the main timbering in advancing a level in loose ground.
- (Australia, politics) A declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant, and open for re-election. Short form of leadership spill
Old English spillan.