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Origin of spitting image

1925–30; from the phrase spit and image (see spit1) by confusion of spit and with spittin'; compare earlier the very spit of the exact likeness of
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British Dictionary definitions for spitting image

spitting image

noun

informal a person who bears a strong physical resemblance to another, esp to a relativeAlso called: spit, spit and image

Word Origin for spitting image

C19: modification of spit and image, from spit 1 (as in the phrase the very spit of, the exact likeness of (someone))
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 spitting image

spitting image

A precise resemblance, especially in closely related persons. For example, Dirk is the spitting image of his grandfather. This idiom alludes to the earlier use of the noun spit for “likeness,” in turn probably derived from an old proverb, “as like as one as if he had been spit out of his mouth” (c. 1400). The current idiom dates from about 1900.

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