Middle English Dictionary Entry

spillen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. aspillen v., forspillen v., ispillen v., & outspillen v.
1.
(a) To kill (sb., oneself, an animal), esp. in a brutal or violent fashion, slay; -- also without obj.; exterminate (a group of people); ?also, punish (sb.) physically [1st quot.]; also, engage in killing people [quot.Wars Alex.]; ~ on, kill or injure (hunters and dogs); ppl. spilled, killed, slain; also, of an animal: injured [quot. a1400(a1325)]; (b) to cause the death of (sb.); have (sb.) put to death; -- also without obj.; also, cause death [quots. a1400(a1325), a1450 Yk.Pl.]; refl. cause one's own death; also, allow oneself to be killed [quot. c1440]; saven or (and, other) ~; (c) to destroy (one's body, limbs, etc.); (d) to extinguish (life); also, terminate (a pregnancy); (e) spilled of, deprived or despoiled of (parts of one's body), mutilated in.
2.
(a) To lay waste (a city, territory, etc.), devastate; -- also without obj. [quot. a1420, 2nd]; ravage (a crop, field); also, raze (a building); ppl. spilled, made desolate, ravaged; (b) to destroy (an idol, material goods, etc.); also, consume or exhaust (a reserve food supply); saven (speden) and ~; ben spilled, be destroyed; also, of a field: ?be plowed under; ?become unproductive; (c) to break (a chariot, toy, construction, etc.) into pieces, break up, wreck; shatter (a spear); also, distort (a speech sound); (d) to eradicate (all that is remembered about sb.).
3.
To cause the damnation of (a person, soul, fallen angel); -- also refl.; condemn (a person, soul) to perdition, damn; also, torment (a soul) [quot. a1450(?a1349)]; ppl. spilled, damned.
4.
(a) To die; also fig.; be killed; also, pine away for love; ~ from his peples, suffer the death penalty; ~ in-to, suffer for (sb.), languish; (b) to perish, be destroyed; break, shatter; also, fig. fail [quots. a1393, ?1440, a1450]; also, dissipate [quot. a1500(c1477)]; (c) to die spiritually, be damned.
5.
(a) To break (a law, the marriage vow); also, vitiate (a code of law), invalidate [quot. ?a1450]; also, ?make false (a prophecy); (b) to subvert (the institution of the church); render (a ritual) useless or ineffective; thwart (a purpose), frustrate; also, overthrow (the devil's power); also, of the church: be subverted [2nd quot.]; (c) to break up (an established order), dissolve; disrupt (a pleasant or peaceful state); also, break up, dissolve [1st quot.]; (d) to confute (secular wisdom), confound; (e) to distort (the meaning of a coherent sentence).
6.
(a) To bring (sb.) to financial or social ruin; -- also refl.; also, ruin (a reputation); also, come to financial ruin [quot. c1450(?a1400)]; ~ spede, destroy (someone's) good fortune; (b) to become morally corrupt or perverted; (c) to ruin (sb.) morally; spoil (a virtuous life, a good beginning, chastity); also, destroy the purity of (God's work, the world); also, wound (someone's pride); (d) in proverb: to contaminate (a flock of sheep).
7.
(a) To flow out from a container onto the ground; flow over the ground; cause (a liquid) to overflow a container; also fig.; also, cause (powder) to spill out of an orifice or a passage; (b) of tears, blood: to flow; also, of blood: be shed [quot.Arth.& M.]; also, shed (a tear); (c) ~ blod, to kill someone; also, shed blood; (d) to scatter (sth.); also, let (crumbs) fall from a table; ~ brain(es, scatter or dash out (someone's) brains, i.e., kill someone.
8.
(a) To expend (speech, time, effort, etc.) in vain, squander; (b) to waste (food, ointment, etc.); also, be wasted [quot. c1450]; (c) to put (one's mouth, brain, head) to idle or improper use.
9.
(a) In names of allegorical characters: spille bred (time), a waster of bread (time); spille love, one who destroys affection; spille peine, ?one who indiscriminately causes pain; (b) in surnames.