call a spade a spade


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spade 1

 (spād)
n.
1. A sturdy digging tool having a thick handle and a heavy, flat blade that can be pressed into the ground with the foot.
2. Any of various similar digging or cutting tools.
tr.v. spad·ed, spad·ing, spades
To dig or cut with a spade.
Idiom:
call a spade a spade
To speak plainly and forthrightly.

[Middle English, from Old English spadu.]

spad′er n.

spade 2

 (spād)
n.
1. Games
a. A black, leaf-shaped figure on certain playing cards.
b. A playing card with this figure.
c. also spades(used with a sing. or pl. verb) The suit of cards represented by this figure.
2. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a black person.
Idiom:
in spades
To a considerable degree: They had financial trouble in spades.

[Italian spade, pl. of spada, card suit, from Latin spatha, sword, broad-bladed stirrer, from Greek spathē, broad blade.]

call a spade a spade

To speak frankly without euphemism.
Translations
das Kind beim Namen nennen
appeler un chat un chat
References in classic literature ?
The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one.
Let them discriminate between what they remember and what they dreamed, call a spade a spade, give us facts, and honor their own senses with trust.