Dictionary > Spill


1. To destroy; to kill; to put an end to. And gave him to the queen, all at her will To choose whether she would him save or spill. (Chaucer) Greater glory think it to save than spill. (Spenser)
2. To mar; to injure; to deface; hence, to destroy by misuse; to waste. They colours disfigure the stuff and spill the whole workmanship. (Puttenham) Spill not the morning, the quintessence of day, in recreations. (Fuller)
3. To suffer to fall or run out of a vessel; to lose, or suffer to be scattered; applied to fluids and to substances whose particles are small and loose; as, to spill water from a pail; to spill quicksilver from a vessel; to spill powder from a paper; to spill sand or flour.
Spill differs from pour in expressing accidental loss, a loss or waste contrary to purpose.
4. To cause to flow out and be lost or wasted; to shed, or suffer to be shed, as in battle or in manslaughter; as, a man spills another’s blood, or his own blood. And to revenge his blood so justly spilt. (Dryden)
5. 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. Spilling line, a rope used for spilling, or dislodging, the wind from the belly of a sail. Spill, n. An instance of spilling. Oil spill, an accidental release of oil, usually into the ocean, due to damage to an oil tanker or uncontrolled release from an underwater well.
Origin: OE. Spillen,sually, to destroy, AS. Spillan, spildan, to destroy; akin to Icel. Spilla to destroy, Sw. Spilla to spill, Dan. Spilde,G. & D. Spillen to squander, OHG. Spildan.
To cover or decorate with slender pieces of wood, metal, ivory, etc.; to inlay.
Origin: Spilt; Spilling.
1. A bit of wood split off; a splinter.
2. A slender piece of anything. Specifically:
A peg or pin for plugging a hole, as in a cask; a spile.
A metallic rod or pin.
A small roll of paper, or slip of wood, used as a lamplighter, etc.
(Science: chemical) One of the thick laths or poles driven horizontally ahead of the main timbering in advancing a level in loose ground.
3. A little sum of money.
Origin: Cf. Spell a splinter.