[ speyd ]
/ speɪd /


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.


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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

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


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


spade spay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for in spades (1 of 2)

/ (speɪd) /



(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 in spades (2 of 2)

/ (speɪd) /


  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

Idioms and Phrases with in spades (1 of 2)

in spades

Considerably, in the extreme; also, without restraint. For example, They were having money problems, in spades, or Jan told him what he really thought of him, in spades. This expression alludes to spades as the highest-ranking suit in various card games, such as bridge, and transfers “highest” to other extremes. [Colloquial; 1920s]

Idioms and Phrases with in spades (2 of 2)


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.