spade


spade
{{11}}spade (n.1) "tool for digging," O.E. spadu, from P.Gmc. *spadon (Cf. O.Fris. spada, M.Du. spade, O.S. spado, M.L.G. spade, Ger. Spaten), from PIE *spe- "long, flat piece of wood" (Cf. Gk. spathe "wooden blade, paddle," O.E. spon "chip of wood, splinter," O.N. spann "shingle, chip").
To call a spade a spade "use blunt language" (1540s) translates a Greek proverb (known to Lucian), ten skaphen skaphen legein "to call a bowl a bowl," but Erasmus mistook Gk. skaphe "trough, bowl" for a derivative of the stem of skaptein "to dig," and the mistake has stuck.
{{12}}spade (n.2) "figure on playing cards," 1590s, probably from It. spade, pl. of spada "sword, spade," from L. spatha "broad, flat weapon or tool," from Gk. spathe "broad blade" (see SPADE (Cf. spade) (1)). Phrase in spades "in abundance" first recorded 1929 (Damon Runyon), probably from bridge, where spades are the highest-ranking suit.
The invitations to the musicale came sliding in by pairs and threes and spade flushes. [O.Henry, "Cabbages & Kings," 1904]
Derogatory meaning "black person" is 1928, from the color of the playing card symbol.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spade — Spade, n. [AS. sp[ae]d; spada; akin to D. spade, G. spaten, Icel. spa[eth]i, Dan. & Sw. spade, L. spatha a spatula, a broad two edged sword, a spathe, Gr. spa qh. Cf. {Epaulet}, {Spade} at cards, {Spathe}, {Spatula}.] 1. An implement for digging… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spade — Ⅰ. spade [1] ► NOUN ▪ a tool with a rectangular metal blade and a long handle, used for digging. ► VERB ▪ dig over or move with a spade. ● call a spade a spade Cf. ↑call a spade a spade ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

  • spade — spade1 [spād] n. [ME < OE spadu, akin to Ger spaten < IE base * spē , long flat piece of wood > SPOON, Gr spathē] 1. a heavy, flat bladed, long handled tool used for digging by pressing the metal blade into the ground with the foot 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • Spade — (sp[=a]d), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Spaded}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Spading}.] To dig with a spade; to pare off the sward of, as land, with a spade. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spade — [speıd] n ↑spade [Sense: 1,3; Origin: Old English spadu] [Sense: 2, 4 5; Date: 1500 1600; : Italian; Origin: spada or Spanish espada broad sword (used as a mark on cards), from Latin spatha; SPATULA] 1.) a tool for digging that …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Spade — ist der Name folgender Personen: David Spade (* 1964), US amerikanischer Schauspieler, Comedian und Produzent Kate Spade (* 1962), US amerikanische Modeschöpferin Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrere …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • spade — [ speıd ] noun 1. ) count a SHOVEL used for digging earth 2. ) count a playing card with a pattern like a pointed black leaf on it a ) spades plural the SUIT (=group) of playing cards that has this pattern on them. The other suits are clubs,… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Spade — Spade, TX U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 100 Housing Units (2000): 49 Land area (2000): 1.959316 sq. miles (5.074604 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.959316 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Spade, TX — U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 100 Housing Units (2000): 49 Land area (2000): 1.959316 sq. miles (5.074604 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.959316 sq. miles (5.074604… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • spade — spade; spade·ful; spade·man; …   English syllables

  • Spade — Spade, n. [Cf. {Spay}, n.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A hart or stag three years old. [Written also {spaid}, {spayade}.] [1913 Webster] 2. [Cf. L. spado.] A castrated man or beast. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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