[ spik-uh n-span ]
/ ˈspɪk ənˈspæn /


spotlessly clean and neat: a spick-and-span kitchen.
perfectly new; fresh.


in a spick-and-span manner.

Words nearby spick-and-span

Origin of spick-and-span

1570–80; short for spick-and-span-new, alliterative extension of span-new
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for spick and span



/ (ˈspɪkənˈspæn) /


extremely neat and clean
new and fresh

Word Origin for spick-and-span

C17: shortened from spick-and-span-new, from obsolete spick spike, nail + span-new
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 spick and span

spick and span

Neat and clean, as in When Ruth has finished cleaning, the whole house is spick and span. This term combines two nouns that are now obsolete, spick, “a nail” or “spike,” and span, “a wooden chip.” In the 1500s a sailing ship was considered spick and span when every spike and chip was brand-new. The transfer to the current sense took place in the mid-1800s.

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