Spilling the Tea
Spilling the tea is a relatively new idiom, used as an analogy for spreading rumors or gossip.
The phrase was especially common in black drag communities, until it got widely spread, thanks to the “none of my business” meme, featuring Kermit the frog.
Origin of the meme
The first use of the term in print appeared in 1991, when the book titled One of the Children: An Ethnography of Identity and Gay Black Men was published by William G. Hawkeswood.
In the book a quoted person is comparing the two different worlds of gay and straight men and says, that gays are at an advantage, since they ‘give you dance and great tea’.
The term tea here is also used as a term for gossip.
Spread of the meme
Urban Dictionary’s first definition was written on the subject in 2003, which led to further spread of the phrase.
What truly moved the slang expression forward though, was the aforementioned “none of my business” meme, where good old Kermit is sipping some tea, to wash town some tasty gossip.
The meme had spread far and wide across the internet, to meme sites and social media groups, devoted to memeing.
In 2016, a bunch of memes were shared to Buzzfeed with the title “everyone who loves spilling the tea.”
- Urban Dictionary – Spill the tea