Spilt Vs Spilled – Meaning, Use, Examples

Spilt Vs Spilled – Meaning, Use, Examples

Many people often get confused with the two words – ‘spilt’ and ‘spilled’ as they sound similar. They can’t decide what to use, ‘spilt’ or ‘spilled’? Don’t worry. Today I will clear all your doubts about the meanings and usage of these two confusing words. So, let’s learn. 

Meanings of ‘Spilt’ and ‘Spilled’

The meanings of ‘spilt’ and ‘spilled’ are the same. Actually ‘spilt’ and ‘spilled’ both come from the verb ‘to spill’. The verb ‘to spill’ means “to let a liquid come out from a container accidentally”. ‘Spilt’ and ‘spilled’ both are used as the Past Tense and Past Participle Tense of the verb ‘to spill’. 

“To spill” is one of those verbs that has two forms: regular and irregular. For a list of such kind of verbs, see the table below.

What to use: ‘spilt’ or ‘spilled’? 

The use of ‘spilt’ and ‘spilled’ depends on the country where you live. It’s best to use “spilled” if you’re writing in the United States. If you’re writing in the United Kingdom, you should also use the word “spilled,” but “spilt” is generally acceptable.

Spilled or spilt British English

‘Spilled’ is commonly used as the Past and Past Participle form of the verb ‘spill’ in British English. But if you use ‘spilt’, it will be accepted. In British English, ‘spilt’ was widely used in the 19th and 20th century but ‘spilled’ is more common in the present time. The change is probably definitely due to the spread of American influence.

Spilled or spilt American English

“Spilled” is the most commonly used in the United States. Many people consider the use of “spilt” as the past tense or past participle of “to spill” as a spelling mistake. It will undoubtedly irritate a significant number of your readers. 

Is it ‘Spilt Milk’ or ‘Spilled Milk’?

The idiom “Don’t cry over spilt milk” advises people not to get upset over things that they can’t change.

‘Spilt milk’ is more commonly used than ‘spilled milk’. If you’re an American, this may be your golden opportunity to use the phrase “spilt.” You may always claim that you’re using an ancient British phrase. (“Spilled milk” is also a common phrase, so don’t believe this is a rule.)

‘Spilled’ in a Sentence

  1. When the milk begins to boil, turn off the heat. Otherwise, it will be spilled.
  2. Something has spilled down your tie.
  3. I was just cleaning up the soup spilled in the kitchen by you.
  4. Your coffee was spilled by me. Sorry for that.
  5. The table tablecloth has a discoloration from the spilled coffee.

‘Spilt’ in a Sentence

  1. It’s useless to cry over spilt milk.
  2. Nooo! I spilt coffee all over my shirt!
  3. I cleaned up the wine that had spilt.
  4. The floor was damaged by acid spilt on it.
  5. Who has spilt the milk?

Verbs with Irregular and Regular Forms

The verbs given below (such as ‘to like’) can be regular and irregular:

VerbSimple Past TensePast Participle Tense
BurnBurned OR BurntBurned OR Burnt
DreamDreamed OR DreamtDreamed OR Dreamt
LearnLearned OR LearntLearned OR Learnt
SmellSmelled OR SmeltSmelled OR Smelt
SpellSpelled OR SpeltSpelled OR Spelt

In British English, the second form is often more frequent (e.g., “learnt,” “dreamt”), although this is not the case of “spilt.”

How to Remember the Difference

If you’re having problems remembering which word to use, keep in mind that most verbs finish in -ed, including rhymes like willed, skilled, and milled. I mean to say that you should always use ‘spilled’ (except ‘spilt milk’).


To summarise,

  • Spilled and spilt indicate the same thing. The meaning of these two words is “mistakenly allowing liquid to flow from a container”.
  • Spilled is the recommended spelling as it is widely used today.

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