Monday, October 2, 2023

Spilling the tea on "spill the tea"

You know how you get a new car and then suddenly, you see that same car everywhere you go? New words are like that too. And earlier this year, while editing a book for a British client, I came across a sentence about someone "spilling the tea." From the context, I knew that the phrase was not, in fact, about sloshing tea all over the place but rather about gossiping. Kind of a fun phrase, right? Soon after that, I saw a blog post titled "Spilling the Tea," and before I knew it, "spill the tea" was popping up everywhere. This weekend, I was at Hobby Lobby when I saw the phrase on a mug, which of course I had to get (and I used it to celebrate my first cup of The Official Fall Tea of Tea With Friends, Cranberry Autumn by Harney & Sons).

But let's talk about this mug. A) I did not know this mug existed at Hobby Lobby and cannot believe someone didn't tell me about it! B) I'm kind of glad I didn't know the mug existed, because it was on clearance, originally $9.99 and marked down to $2.49. I would have bought this mug even if it weren't on sale, so I'm lucky I nabbed the last one in Carrollton when it was 75 percent off!

And the pretty graphics are on the back side as well, which isn't always the case with mugs like this. But today I'm curious: Have you all heard the phrase "spill the tea" before? If so, do you remember where you first heard it? Unique words and phrases have long fascinated me, and that goes double for "spill the tea."


  1. Here is what I found: The phrase “spill the tea” comes from the 1994 book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Drag queen Lady Chablis uses it in the sense of “spill the T” for “spill the truth,” but using the word “tea” makes it funny.
    If Hobby Lobby only knew! Frances

    1. Oh my, "Midnight" was such a phenomenon here in Georgia! I read it 20 (30?) years ago and would have never made the connection! Thanks!

  2. I don’t know where I heard the phrase, but I’ve heard it, and I knew what it meant. I love the mug, and the price is even better!

  3. No, I've never heard the phrase "spill the tea." I've always heard "spill the beans," meaning to tell something that's supposed to be secret, or telling something before you're supposed to. Anyway, your new mug is very cute!

  4. Cute cup. I use to drink that tea in the fall when I was drinking flavored teas. It is a good fall tea indeed.

  5. Yes, I have heard the phrase "spill the tea" before but I don't remember where I first heard it.


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