full of beans

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Etymology 1[edit]

Attested since the 1840s. Possibly a reference to coffee beans. Attributed to Robert Strang.[1]


full of beans (comparative more full of beans, superlative most full of beans)

  1. (idiomatic) Energetic and enthusiastic.
    Synonyms: feeling one's oats, full of piss and vinegar
    • 1919, P. G. Wodehouse, “The Aunt and the Sluggard”, in My Man Jeeves:
      "What do you mean by the expression 'Bucks you up'?"
      "Well, makes you full of beans, you know. Makes you fizz."
      "I don't understand a word you say. You're English, aren't you?"
    • 2006 September 6, Karen Thomas, Lindsey Arkley, “World mourns 'Crocodile Hunter'”, in USA Today, retrieved 6 Nov. 2008:
      Irwin's friend Chris White reflected on a friendship that began in 1975. . . . "Full of beans, full of life, gung-ho, fearless, tenacious at anything he attempted."
    • 2010, Yvonne Lindsay, For the Sake of the Secret Child, page 68:
      "The antibiotics are working a treat and he's full of beans. Too many beans, actually. He's asleep now." She gestured to the chaos of the sitting room.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Attested since the 1930s. A euphemistic form of full of shit.[1]


full of beans (comparative more full of beans, superlative most full of beans)

  1. (chiefly US, idiomatic) Incorrect; uninformed; exaggerating or expressing falsehood.
    • 2008 March 31, David Carr, “Talk to the Newsroom: David Carr, Culture Reporter and Business Columnist”, in New York Times, retrieved 6 Nov. 2008:
      Anybody who tells you that they know what today's readers want is full of beans.
    • 2008, Paul Begala, Third Term: Why George W. Bush ♥ John McCain, page 73:
      McCain says he can save $100 billion in earmarks, but he's full of beans.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Christine Ammer (2013), “full of beans”, in American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, second edition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, →ISBN, page 160.
  • Jonathan Bernstein, Knickers in a Twist: A Dictionary of British Slang (2007): "full of beans — bursting with energy"
  • V. S. Matyushenkov, Dictionary of Americanisms, Briticisms, Canadianisms and Australianisms (2010): "full of beans — full of nonsense [] chronically mistaken, wrong"