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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:28 pm

• spick-and-span •

Pronunciation: spik-en-spænHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Brand new. 2. Absolutely clean, spotless.

Notes: Since Americans see the household cleaning products sold under the brand name 'Spic and Span' more often than the actual phrase, the spelling spic-and-span is generally accepted as a legitimate alternative to the original spick-and-span. As always, we prefer the original.

In Play: In most of the English-speaking world, today's Good Word still carries the meaning of newness: "When you say that you have a 'new' car, do you mean a new used car or a spick-and-span car?" This is a variant of the ancient epithet span-new "brand new", already in use in the 13th century. Today's Good Word more often, of course, refers to cleanliness: "When I get home from work today, I want to find your room not just tidy but spick-and-span!"

Word History: Today's complex word is, believe it or not, a shortening of an earlier phrase, spick-and-span new. Spick is a variant of spike, while span once meant "chip". The term comes from the ship-building trade at a time when ships were built of wood. A ship was 'spike and chip' new if you could still find the occasional unused spike and left-over chips lying around. Spanking new might be a variant of span new, a phrase that came along about the same time as "spike and span". (In a world flooded with dirty words, we especially thank Henry F. Koch for suggesting such an exceptionally clean one for today's Good Word.)
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Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:30 am

I'm surprised this is a word. Had you asked me prior to your post, I would have called it a three word slang phrase.

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:43 pm

I could not believe it! ! !
I actually received the daily word of the day.
Maybe my site will become spic and span, with Andrew's help. (And the others of you who have PM'd me and sent emails.)
Crossing my fingers.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

Philip W Hudson


Postby Philip W Hudson » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:52 pm

I knew the definition but I was clueless as to the etymology. Now I know. - Philip W Hudson

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