From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


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 [the 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.