March 19, 2022

What Does Spilling the Tea Mean?

The English language is extremely rich -- far richer than many of its speakers even realize (and that includes native speakers too). In addition to words and expressions that have literal meanings, English also has a plethora of idiomatic expressions. These expressions do not necessarily have a straightforward translation, and they usually require a bit […]

Jason Pittock

March 19, 2022

The English language is extremely rich -- far richer than many of its speakers even realize (and that includes native speakers too). In addition to words and expressions that have literal meanings, English also has a plethora of idiomatic expressions. These expressions do not necessarily have a straightforward translation, and they usually require a bit of context to fully understand their meaning. For instance, have you ever wondered "what does spilling the tea" mean?

Well, we did some research at Sin Columna, and got to the bottom of this expression. Read on if you want to find out more.

What Does Spilling the Tea Mean

So, What Does Spilling the Tea Mean?

In short, "spilling the tea" means sharing gossip or secrets. More specifically, it means to share information that is not intended for public disclosure. Another expression for this would be "to let the cat out of the basket" or "to spill the beans", but both of these idioms have a slightly different connotation to them.

More specifically, when someone "spills the tea", they let out gossip in an intentional or semi-intentional way. When someone lets the cat out of the basket or spills the beans, they are more likely to have made a "slip" and accidentally said something they shouldn't have.

Here's where things get interesting, though.

The origins of this phrase are unclear, but it is thought to have originated in the African American community. It is thought that this expression was first used during the Harlem Renaissance, a time when African Americans were creating and thriving in many different fields (including the arts and politics).

More specifically, it is believed that "spilling the tea" was first used in a book released in 1994 ("Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"), where a drag queen called Lady Chablis is quoted as saying "I spill the tea" on a regular basis.

These days, "spilling tea" has gone mainstream. From TV Shows to Reality TV and everyday language, everyone seems to be using this idiom.

As for us, well, we might not use it very often -- but we can appreciate anything that brings "tea" back into the mainstream culture, so we cannot but like the expression.

What Does Spilling the Tea Mean: FAQs

What is spilling the tea?

Spilling the tea means sharing gossip or secrets. It is the act of disclosing information that is not meant for public disclosure. The meaning is close in nature to "letting the cat out of the basket" or "spilling the beans". However, "spilling the tea" frequently implies a direct action, something you want to gossip about.

Other tea-related idioms include: "not my cup of tea" (it's not something you prefer), "a storm in a teacup" (a minor conflict), as well as "tea and sympathy" (conversation and support).

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