What does the idiom "be full of beans" mean?

Are you using the idiom be full of beans but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the be full of beans idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "be full of beans"


The phrase 'be full of beans' is an idiom used to describe someone who is full of energy and enthusiasm. It can also be used to describe something that is working in a lively and efficient way. If a person is said to be full of beans, it means that they are certainly feeling vibrant and alive. In some regards, it is used as a reference to a cup of coffee, where the beans are the literal source of caffeination.


The phrase 'be full of beans' appears to have originated in the late 19th century United States. The phrase itself is most likely a reference to the common usage of beans as a source of energy. Beans were often used as a meal of choice in rural communities, as they were easy to grow and store. The phrase was also used to describe someone who was not only full of energy, but full of enthusiasm as well.


The phrase 'be full of beans' is used to describe someone who is feeling energetic, lively and enthusiastic. It can also be used to describe something that is working in an efficient and productive way. For example, a person could say 'This project is full of beans' to describe it being completed quickly and with enthusiasm.

Example Sentences

  • The athletes were full of beans and ready for the race.
  • John was full of beans and eager to get started on his new project.
  • This project is full of beans and we should have it finished soon.

The meanings of the words in the "be full of beans" idiom

From One Language to Another: Idioms in Translation

Translating idioms from one language to another can be a tricky task, as the cultural context behind an idiom can be difficult to capture. For example, the French phrase "avoir le cafard" translates to "to have the cockroach," which means to feel down or depressed. Similarly, the Chinese idiom "????" (j?ng d? zh? w?) translates to "frog at the bottom of a well," which refers to someone with a narrow view of the world.


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