spade

1
[ speyd ]
/ speɪd /

noun

a tool for digging, having an iron blade adapted for pressing into the ground with the foot and a long handle commonly with a grip or crosspiece at the top, and with the blade usually narrower and flatter than that of a shovel.
some implement, piece, or part resembling this.
a sharp projection on the bottom of a gun trail, designed to dig into the earth to restrict backward movement of the carriage during recoil.

verb (used with object), spad·ed, spad·ing.

to dig, cut, or remove with a spade (sometimes followed by up): Let's spade up the garden and plant some flowers.

Idioms for spade

    call a spade a spade, to call something by its real name; be candidly explicit; speak plainly or bluntly: To call a spade a spade, he's a crook.
    in spades, Informal.
    1. in the extreme; positively: He's a hypocrite, in spades.
    2. without restraint; outspokenly: I told him what I thought, in spades.

Origin of spade

1
before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English spadu; cognate with Dutch spade, German Spaten, Old Norse spathi spade, Greek spáthē broad, flat piece of wood

OTHER WORDS FROM spade

spade·like, adjectivespad·er, nounun·spad·ed, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH spade

spade spay
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for call a spade a spade (1 of 2)

spade1
/ (speɪd) /

noun

verb

(tr) to use a spade on

Derived forms of spade

spader, noun

Word Origin for spade

Old English spadu; related to Old Norse spathi, Old High German spato, Greek spathē blade

British Dictionary definitions for call a spade a spade (2 of 2)

spade2
/ (speɪd) /

noun

  1. the black symbol on a playing card resembling a heart-shaped leaf with a stem
  2. a card with one or more of these symbols or (when pl) the suit of cards so marked, usually the highest ranking of the four
a derogatory word for Black
in spades informal in an extreme or emphatic way

Word Origin for spade

C16: from Italian spada sword, used as an emblem on playing cards, from Latin spatha, from Greek spathē blade, broadsword
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for call a spade a spade

call a spade a spade

To speak directly and bluntly; to avoid euphemism: “The prosecutor said, ‘Let's call a spade a spade. You didn't borrow the money, you stole it.’”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with call a spade a spade (1 of 2)

call a spade a spade

Speak frankly and bluntly, be explicit, as in You can always trust Mary to call a spade a spade. This term comes from a Greek saying, call a bowl a bowl, that was mistranslated into Latin by Erasmus and came into English in the 1500s. Also see tell it like it is.

Idioms and Phrases with call a spade a spade (2 of 2)

spade

see call a spade a spade; do the spadework; in spades.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.