what does it mean to spill the tea

what does it mean to spill the tea

What Does It Mean To ‘Spill The Tea’?

Have you ever heard someone say “spill the tea” and wondered what it meant? This phrase undoubtedly comes from the phrase “tea is spilled” and implies that news, gossip or secrets have been shared.

Origin of the Phrase

There is disagreement as to where this phrase originated from. Some people from the UK and Ireland attribute it to the 1800s as a way to describe rumors or “spreading the news”. The phrase was also very popular in the drag scene of the late 1990s. Others attribute the phrase to the early 2000s, with the popular TV show Gossip Girl.

Modern Usage of Spilling the Tea

Today, ‘spilling the tea’ is a popular phrase used to describe someone sharing news and gossip. More often than not, it implies gossip or news which are likely to shock or surprise people. You may also see ‘sipping the tea’, which implies that the speaker of the phrase is getting enjoyment out of the news being shared.

Examples of Spilling the Tea

Here are some examples of how ‘spilling the tea’ might be used in a sentence:

  • Cindy: Did you hear the news about Mary and Craig?
  • Lucy: No, what happened? Cindy: Spill the tea!

In this example, Cindy is eager for Lucy to tell her news about Mary and Craig. She is telling Lucy to ‘spill the tea’ in other words, to tell her the gossip.

  • Alice: Did you see what was on Tim’s social media last night?
  • Bob: Yeah, it was pretty wild – definitely worth spilling the tea on!

In this example, Alice has asked Bob if he saw what was on Tim’s social media and Bob agrees that it is newsworthy enough to tell others – or ‘spill the tea’.


The phrase ‘spill the tea’ is a popular phrase currently used to describe news, gossip or sharing secrets. It is believed to have originated in the 1800s and first became popular in the late 1990s in the drag scene. Today it is used in daily conversations and online when people want to share news and gossip.


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