When someone reveals details about surprising events which will happen in a movie or book to someone who doesn't know about them, we nowadays say that's a 'spoiler.' I'm looking for a verb for that, which is less colloquial and less awkward than 'to spoil.' Ideally, it would be a transitive verb, so I'd like to be able to say 'He Xed Y,' where 'X' is the verb I'm looking for and 'Y' would be the thing that was revealed.

  • Not very succinct, but you could say spoiled the surprise of the ending.
    – bib
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 14:37

8 Answers 8


This isn't a single word, but phrase give away works.

TheFreeDictionary defines give away as:

To reveal or make known, often accidentally.

It can be used for movies, such as the phrase "gave away the ending". There are a lot of examples of that on Google.

  • I would like to add that give away totally is a single word. It's just spelled with a blank, is all. There's no shortage of languages/writing systems that would spell it without. (Or indeed spell all the words with no blanks at all.) It's just a convention. Spaces do not delimit words. Not even in English. Observe: S P A C E. How many words is that? Five, you say? Count again.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 20:18

Before spoiler, people would actually use the word reveal.

Whilst being a verb. it can also be used as a noun, as in the big reveal, such as with a magic show.

verb make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others.

noun (in a film or television programme) a final revelation of information that has previously been kept from the characters or viewers.

Alternatively, you could use unveil

verb show or announce publicly for the first time.

Definitions from Oxford Dictionary

Both work in the context that you've described:

He revealed an object

He unveiled an object

  • Would you say 'to reveal' or 'to unveil' have the negative connotation that 'to spoil' has? Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 14:10
  • @JohannesBauer 'To unveil' generally has positive connotations, as it is usually used in reference to a public gathering, such as 'unveiling a new statue', which are usually crowd-pleasing events. I don't think 'to reveal' has connotations of good or bad. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 14:12

I like divulge:


Make known (private or sensitive information):



Disclose might work well in a formal context:


1 Make (secret or new information) known:


On the colloquial scale, I would rate leak somewhere between spoil and disclose:


2.1 [WITH OBJECT] Intentionally disclose (secret information):



For me, the biggest problem with trying to use “to spoil” as a verb for “reveal” is not its colloquial nature but "the fact" (as seen by me) that spoil/spoiler still really means “ruin” in this sense and not “reveal”:

“Don’t spoil/ruin it (the movie/the ending/whatever) for me [by revealing it (the plot twists/the ending/whatever).”

Granted, the “by revealing [whatever]” can be implied, but it’s not inherent in the word “spoil,” even as it relates to movies, for one can easily spoil a movie in other ways: by talking, farting, checking a phone, etc.).

All that said in a feeble attempt to try to persuade you to reconsider the possibility of using a colloquialism, especially one that does mean “reveal” in this sense and one that could also provide some (clever?/lame?) alliteration when used with “spoil,” to wit,

to spill”: (6. Informal. to divulge, disclose, or tell: “Don't spill the secret.”).

“You spilled the surprise [ending], you spoiler!”

  • Totally agree: that's the reason why I was looking for something 'less awkward.' Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 7:04

synopsis: providing a summary of what happens in a film or book

  • 1
    But synopsis is one of the few nouns that hasn't been verbed yet. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 22:28
  • @EdwinAshworth : Google actually does give me results for 'synopsisize' ;-) Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 6:42
  • @Johannes If that is considered an acceptable word, synopsis has been verbisised, not verbed. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:55

About 400 years ago a guy named Will said from the mouth of another guy named Kent,

"... mar a curious tale by telling it."

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