Ashley posted about Spill the Beans and she has gotten lots of comments about her writing. Why she is the first one to hear from author Pat Street. Wow! I'm going to have Ashley read Pat Street's comment so everyone can enjoy it.
Now we all know that the meaning of spill the beans is to give away a secret to someone who is not supposed to know it. Pat Street shared the origin of "letting the cat out of the bag" but was not sure of the origin of "spill the beans".
A popular theory about the origin of this idiom goes back to the ancient Greeks and their secret societies. People voted you into these clubs by putting a white bean or a black bean into a jar (white = yes; black = no). The beans were supposed to be counted in secret, but if somebody accidentally (or purposefully) knocked over the jar and spilled the beans, the secret vote would be revealed. Another theory holds that this is an example of American slang from the early 1900s that combined two old words, "spill" (meaning "talk," from the 1500s) and "beans" (meaning "information," from the 1200s), into a new phrase.
See how much we learn by blogging!