Calling a spade. . . .

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Jun 30 18:31:04 UTC 2008

On Jun 30, 2008, at 11:16 AM, Larry Horn wrote:

> At 1:49 PM -0400 6/30/08, George Thompson wrote:
>> Archer Taylor, in his book The Proverb, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
>> U. P., 1931), in a chapter on non-proverbial fixed expressions, says
>> "The phrase to call a spade a spade may allude to a spayed dog,...
> Well, the confusion is alive and well.  When searching the
> classifieds in our weekly free neighborhood paper for a kitten toward
> the end of the previous century, we came across an ad that...

Rob Colton's Grammar to Go has both "spade" and "spaded" as errors for
"spayed", and Paul Brians's Common Errors has "spaded".

> There are currently over 2000 raw hits for "spade cat", only some of
> which involve intentional wordplay.

fewer for "spaded cat", but they're are some.


The American Dialect Society -

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