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“I was just at the mall, and you will never guess what happened!”
“I saw Sally’s boyfriend Jacob, and guess who he was with!?!”
“Oh– spill the tea!”
Have you ever heard someone say, “spill the tea”? What does it mean, when should you say it, and where did it originate from?
Spill The Tea Meaning
The term “spill the tea” has recently gained much popularity, especially among younger generations. It is typically used when referring to gossip or juicy details that people share with each other.
An older phrase you may be familiar with is “spill the beans” or “spill your guts.” In the same way, spill the tea is a slang expression for revealing secrets or details you may not want to share.
The phrase “spill the tea” is American slang and not uncommon to hear in YouTube videos, podcasts, tabloid news headlines, text messages, and other informal conversations.
Symbolism of “Spilling the Tea”
Of course, spilling tea does not actually mean you are spilling it; it is an idiom, meaning the words are different than their literal meaning.
Tea is symbolic of gossip, secrets, and other information shared among friends. When someone tells you to “spill the tea,” they are asking you to tell all the juicy details.
“Spilling the tea” or “spilling the T,” as it is sometimes spelled, may be interpreted in different ways. The T, in this case, may stand for “truth.” Another way to look at it is from the perspective of visiting family and friends for a cup of tea and spreading gossip.
What is Gossip?
Gossip can be casual or unconstrained conversations or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as true. It is usually considered a negative thing when discussing it in terms of our moral values; however, gossip itself is usually a deeply rooted aspect of social life and relationships.
When to Say “Spill the Tea”
If you think someone is hiding something from you or you are not being told the full details of something, you can say, “spill the tea,” “it’s time to spill the tea,” or ask the question, “what’s the tea?”
The phrase “spill the tea” is usually said among younger generations from the USA, although social media has had a part in popularizing the phrase worldwide.
Examples of Sentences with “Spill The Tea”
- “My friend spilled the tea on why she and her ex broke up.”
- “Are you going to spill the tea or what?”
- “I know there’s more to the story— spill the tea already!”
- “What did you hear? Don’t keep me in suspense; spill the tea!”
- “Catherine totally spilled the tea about why she didn’t get invited to the party.”
- “I can’t reveal all the details yet, but trust me when I say that we need to spill the tea on this one.”
- “Spill the tea on Jen’s breakup. I am dying to know the gossip!”
- “It’s time to spill the tea, or I won’t be your friend anymore!”
Similar Phrases to “Spill The Tea”
Some similar expressions and phrases mean the same as “spill the tea.” Instead of saying, “spill the tea,” you could also say:
- “Spill the beans”
- “Dish the dirt”
- “Let it spill”
- “Say what you heard”
- “Tell me everything!”
- “Spill the deets!” (details)
- “Fill me in!”
- “What did you hear?”
- “Give the game away”
- “Tell all!”
- “Let the cat out of the bag!”
However you choose to use the expression, spill the tea is sure to add a little spice to your conversations!
Responses to The News
If the news isn’t quite as impressive as the expectations held it to be, you may hear the phrase “weak tea.”
If something isn’t very interesting or exciting, you can say, “that’s weak tea,” to indicate that the news is not all that shocking. For example, “I heard the gossip about them, but it’s weak tea.”
Related Posts: Abbreviations That Cause The Most Confusion
Origin of “Spill the Tea”
The phrase spill the tea originated from black drag culture. One of the early uses of the phrase originates from John Berendt’s nonfiction best-seller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. In the story, the drag performer reveals that she doesn’t want certain men to find out her T, which in this case, means truth. T, otherwise spelled as tea, has been popularized by RuPaul’s Drag Race and is found in many memes and gifs across social media. The phrase appears to have a double barrel meaning– truth and gossip.
Spill The Tea Memes, Gifs and Tweets
Okay, I’m a little bit behind but I just finished Harry and Meghan… and like damn… good for them! SPILL 👏 THE 👏 TEA👏— Ella Hart (@heyyyella) January 11, 2023
but I’m curious? why so many negative opinions of them after they told the truth about the situation??
lol Robyn said she has something to tell them and The way Carter’s eyebrow perked up and he smirked. Lol I know he thought Robyn was gonna spill some tea. He’s the messy one #RHOP pic.twitter.com/IHiCBoEMHk— Cool Girl (@Tea_witdre) January 9, 2023
As you can see, “spill the tea” has become popular slang for revealing juicy gossip or spilling secrets. The next time you hear someone spill the tea, remember to take it with a grain of salt. After all, gossip isn’t always trustworthy!
Nevertheless, spill the tea is sure to add some extra fun and excitement to any conversation. So grab yourself a cup of hot tea (or coffee if that’s more to your taste) and let spill!
What do you think of slang nowadays? Be sure to check out Pushing P: What it Means on TikTok.
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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
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