Full of beans

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Full of beans is an idiom that became popular in the mid-1800s. We will examine the meaning of the expression full of beans, its etymology, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To be full of beans means to have a lot of energy, to be lively and enthusiastic, to have a joie de vivre. Synonyms of the phrase full of beans that may be found in a thesaurus are hyperactive, spirited, animated. The phrase full of beans seems to have come into popular use in the mid-1800s and is attributed to a practice of feeding beans to horses as fodder. Supposedly, horses that were fed beans were more energetic and lively. Beans were a staple in the diet of many Americans in the mid-1800s. More recently, the phrase full of beans is sometimes used to mean not truthful, but this is not the correct use of the idiom.


They are full of beans and their favourite pastime is racing each other up and down their cage. (The West Australian)

“When I get up at four to take the dogs for a walk before work, Dot wakes up too, always looking like she is over the moon to have woken up for another day, smiling and full of beans at four in the morning.” (Lincolnshire News)

Another positive usage of the simple bean is when we say “full of beans” to describe someone/something that is full of life and vigor. (The Stokes News)