full of beans

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Etymology 1[edit]

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


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

  1. (idiomatic) Energetic and enthusiastic.
    • 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, Karen Thomas and Lindsey Arkley, "World mourns 'Crocodile Hunter'," USA Today, 6 Sep. (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.

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, David Carr, "Talk to the Newsroom: David Carr, Culture Reporter and Business Columnist," New York Times, 31 Mar. (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.
  • (incorrect; uninformed; expressing falsehood): full of shit


  1. 1.0 1.1 The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, second edition (ISBN 0547676581), 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"