Spick and Span (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Spick and Span"?

The term spick and span means brand new. This term has a nautical origin. Spick meant nails (or spike) and span meant wooden shavings. On a new sailing ship, the nails would still be shiny and the wooden shavings from manufacture would still be present. Therefore, a new ship would be all spick and span.
Spick and Span (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • When I come back in an hour, I want to see this kitchen looking spick and span.
  • His apartment is spick and span. He must have a new girlfriend.
  • The railings along the promenade all look spick and span after a fresh coat of paint.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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