Definition for SPILL

SPILL, v.t. [pret. spilled or spilt; pp. id. (Sax. spillan; D. and G. spillen; Sw. spilla; Dan. spilder.)]

  1. To suffer to fall or run out of a vessel; to lose or suffer to be scattered; applied only to fluids and to substances whose particles are small and loose. Thus we spill water from a pail; we spill spirit or oil from a bottle; we spill quicksilver or powders from a vessel or a paper; we spill sand or flour. Spill differs from pour in expressing accidental loss; a loss or waste not designed, or contrary to purpose.
  2. To suffer to be shed; as, a man spills his own blood.
  3. To cause to flow out or lose; to shed; as, a man spills another's blood. [This is applied to cases of murder or other homicide, but not to venesection. In the latter case we say, to let or take blood.] And to revenge his blood so justly spilt. – Dryden.
  4. To mischief; to destroy; as, to spill the mind or soul; to spill glory; to spill forms, &c. [This application is obsolete and now improper.]
  5. To throw away. – Tickel.
  6. In seamen's language, to discharge the wind out of the cavity or belly of a sail. – Mar. Dict.

Return to page 220 of the letter “S”.