full of beans


the edible nutritious seed of various plants of the legume family, especially of the genus Phaseolus.
a plant producing such seeds.
the pod of such a plant, especially when immature and eaten as a vegetable.
any of various other beanlike seeds or plants, as the coffee bean.
a person's head.
a coin or a bank note considered as a coin: I can't pay for the ticket, I don't have a bean in my jeans.
British Informal. a minimum amount of money: They've been disinherited and now haven't a bean.
beans, Informal. the slightest amount: He doesn't know beans about navigation.
verb (used with object)
Slang. to hit on the head, especially with a baseball.
beans, (used to express disbelief, annoyance, etc.).
full of beans, Informal.
energetic; vigorously active; vital: He is still full of beans at 95.
stupid; erroneous; misinformed.
spill the beans, Informal. to disclose a secret, either accidentally or imprudently, thereby ruining a surprise or plan: He spilled the beans, and she knew all about the party in advance.

before 950; Middle English bene, Old English bēan; cognate with Old Norse baun, Old Frisian bāne, Dutch boon, Old Saxon, Old High German bona (German Bohne), probably < Germanic *babnō, cognate with Russian bob, Latin faba < European Indo-European *bhabh-

beanlike, adjective

bean, been, Ben, bin.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bean (biːn)
1.  French bean lima bean scarlet runner See string bean any of various leguminous plants of the widely cultivated genus Phaseolus producing edible seeds in pods
2.  any of several other leguminous plants that bear edible pods or seeds, such as the broad bean and soya bean
3.  any of various other plants whose seeds are produced in pods or podlike fruits
4.  the seed or pod of any of these plants
5.  any of various beanlike seeds, such as coffee
6.  slang (US), (Canadian) another word for head
7.  slang not have a bean to be without money: I haven't got a bean
8.  informal full of beans
 a.  full of energy and vitality
 b.  (US) mistaken; erroneous
9.  informal spill the beans to disclose something confidential
10.  slang chiefly (US), (Canadian) (tr) to hit (a person) on the head
[Old English bēan; related to Old Norse baun, Old Frisian bāne, Old High German bōna bean]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. bean "bean, pea, legume," from P.Gmc. *bauno (cf. O.N. baun, Ger. bohne), perhaps from a PIE reduplicated base *bha-bha- and related to L. faba "bean." As a metaphor for "something of small value" it is attested from c.1300. Meaning "head" is U.S. baseball slang c.1905 (in bean-ball "a pitch thrown
at the head"); thus slang verb bean meaning "to hit on the head," attested from 1910. Slang bean-counter is first recorded 1975. The notion of lucky or magic beans in English folklore is from the exotic beans or large seeds that wash up occasionally in Cornwall and western Scotland, carried from the Caribbean or South America by the Gulf Stream. They were cherished, believed to ward off the evil eye and aid in childbirth. To not know beans (Amer.Eng. 1933) is perhaps from the "of little worth" sense, but may have a connection to colloquial expression recorded around Somerset, to know how many beans make five "be a clever fellow."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

full of beans

  1. Lively, energetic, in high spirits, as in The children were full of beans today, looking forward to their field trip. This expression has no valid explanation. [c. 1840]

  2. Also, full of prunes. Acting foolish, talking nonsense, as in One cup of coffee won't hurt youyou're full of prunes. [c. 1930] Also see full of crap.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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