Full of Beans – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

When people say that you’re full of beans, it’s a lively way of saying you’re energetic, enthusiastic and in really high spirits. But how did beans come to symbolize energy? I know they’re a “magical fruit,” as my dad used to say, but what’s the story behind this fun phrase? Let’s explore the origins and meaning of full of beans, and I promise, by the end of this article, you’ll be bouncing with energy and knowledge!

Is Full of Beans an Idiom?

Full of Beans – Idiom Meaning Origin

Yes, full of beans is very much an idiom. Unless you literally ate a bunch of beans. This idiom means someone is full of energy, life and vitality. We use it to describe both people and situations that are lively, enthusiastic and dynamic.

Full of Beans Meaning Explained

The phrase full of beans means brimming with energy and vitality. It’s used to describe someone lively, spirited and bouncing off the walls. If your kid runs around the house and bounces off the furniture, you could say they’re full of beans.

Origin and Etymology Behind Full of Beans

The energetic phrase full of beans originates from the old English saying full as prunes, which was commonly used in the 14th century. But the beans reference came into use in the United States in the early 19th century.

Full of Beans Ngram
Full of beans usage trend.

Beans, being a significant source of protein, were associated with energy and vitality. Horses fed a diet high in beans were observed to be lively and spirited, leading to the phrase full of beans.

Synonyms for the Phrase Full of Beans

Here are some alternatives to saying full of beans that still capture that energetic spirit:

  • Brimming with energy
  • Bursting with life
  • Lively
  • Energetic
  • Vibrant
  • Enthusiastic
  • Bubbly
  • Exuberant

How to Use Full of Beans in a Sentence

Full of Beans – Idiom Meaning Origin 1

  • After a good night’s sleep, Jenny woke up full of beans and ready to tackle the day.
  • My grandma is 80 years old but still full of beans.
  • Despite the long journey driving across the province, the kids are still full of beans.
  • He came into the meeting full of beans, ready to present his ideas.
  • After the exciting news, she was full of beans and couldn’t sit still.
  • The puppies were full of beans, running around the yard.
  • Our aerobics instructor is so full of beans; her energy is infectious!
  • After the coffee break, the team was full of beans, and productivity soared.
  • Even after a day of sightseeing, my sister was still full of beans.
  • I don’t know how you do it, but you’re always so full of beans in the morning!

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit!

Now you’re full of beans about the phrase full of beans! With its meaning explained and a list of examples, you can now incorporate this lively idiom into your vocabulary. This phrase is a fun and informal way to convey energy, enthusiasm and vitality. Hop over to my other idiom guides and fill up on knowledge!