[Ads-l] A spade is not a shovel.

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 1 18:24:44 UTC 2017

> the dominating character of the suit in card playing

It's the highest-ranking suit in the hierarchy - clubs, diamonds, hearts,
spades - of bridge. A bid of N in spades tops a bid of N in any other suit.
A bid of "seven" in spades - the taking of all available tricks, a "grand
slam," using spades as the trump-suit - wins the auction over the bidding
of a grand slam in hearts, diamonds, or clubs and, if made, yields the
highest score.

On Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 7:56 AM, David K. Barnhart <dbarnhart at highlands.com>

> I don't recall seeing a playing card in spades in which the tip is squared
> off.  The expression _in spades_ meaning "strongly" or "without holding
> back" comes, I suspect, from the dominating character of the suit in card
> playing.
> Good morning all,
> David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Chris Waigl
> Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2017 4:10 AM
> Subject: Re: A spade is not a shovel.
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET>
> Subject:      Re: A spade is not a shovel.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
> On 7/30/17 11:42 PM, Barretts Mail wrote:
> > What would be interesting to know is whether people who regularly use
> both types of tools use the distinction, in which case “spade† might
> remain in the US as jargon.
> >
> > When I’m shoveling dirt, I usually use a spade because: 1) it’s
> lighter, 2) shovels are more common, and 3) it doesn’t occur to me that
> there is an advantage to using the squarish type.
> >
> I've been following this discussion with some consternation, but have held
> back because I'm not an AmE native speaker. But checking with my spouse,
> who has the requisite credentials (and has also done a fair bit of amateur
> farming in her life) has convinced me I'm on the same page as her.
> Spade and shovel are quite clearly distinct tools! A spade's primary
> function is to cut into soil and loosen chunks of it, while a shove's
> primary function is to scoop up and remove the loosened or other loose
> material (such as snow, leaves, manure, ...). They are related of course,
> but specialized. Digging a hole normally requires the use of a spade (for
> the digging) followed by a shovel (for the scooping, lifting, removing).
> Filling a hole from a supply of loose material requires only a shovel.
> A spade's blade is usually flat, and typically either rectangular or
> slightly trapezoid . Like so:
> https://www.makro.co.za/Images/Products/Large/MIN_
> 401557_EAA.jpg?v=20160306
> . (There are specialized models for certain planting tasks that make
> cylindrical holes and therefore have a single cylindrical bent to the
> blade, for example: http://hunsci.com/WDF-1070364.html . Also, they can
> be pointed, as long as they remain a digging tool, such as this collapsible
> one:
> http://wesportstop.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20110926123205463.jpg
> ) In a spade, the central axis of the blade is in the same plane as the
> handle -- everything is straight and aligned.
> A shovel is a scoopy sort of thing, and to facilitate the lifting and
> moving, the central axis of the blade is at an angle to the handle.
> Also, the blade is usually curved. Here is a prototypical shovel:
> http://www.ldoceonline.com/media/english/illustration/shovel.jpg Not at
> all the same thing! For looser materials, you get even more angled and
> curved shovels such as this snow shovel (which would be pretty much
> completely unsuitable to use as a spade):
> http://www.skimo.co/image/data/camp/crest-shovel.jpg
> So much for the usage I am used to. So no, a spade is not a shovel.
> Chris
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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