"call a spade a spade"

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Jun 16 11:39:13 UTC 2008

For some speakers of American English (by no means all of them), the word "spade" has lost all applications except for use as a derogatory racial designation.

On the reanalysis of the proverbial phrase "call a spade a spade," one might consult Wolfgang Mieder's monograph _Call a Spade a Spade: From Classical Phrase to Racial Slur_ (NY: Peter Lang, 2002).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 00:02:08 -0400
>From: Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>

The Same Dowd piece, datelined Paris, also included this:

>'Angela Merkel dodged when asked at a press conference whether she would miss W., but said she liked being able to "call a spade a spade with him."'

>Twas that a fox paw, an indication of a lack of familiarity with American vernacular, or merely a hopefully-NOT noteworthy phrase?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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