There are 2 main definitions of spade in English:

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spade 1

Line breaks: spade

noun

1A tool with a sharp-edged, typically rectangular, metal blade and a long handle, used for digging or cutting earth, sand, turf, etc.
Example sentences
  • What may be a surprise is that the bottom of your foot hurts, bruised from stepping on the hard metal of the spade or fork repeatedly.
  • The traditional square blade of a spade may derive from its historical use as a tool to cut peat, sod or soft garden soil, none of which provide much resistance to the blade.
  • Armed with their metal detectors, spades and uncontrollable imaginations the assembled horde scattered to all corners of the field in search of treasure.
1.1A tool shaped like a spade but used for another purpose, especially one for removing the blubber from a whale.
1.2 [as modifier] Shaped like a spade: a spade bit
More example sentences
  • The spade bit, when used properly, works well on acrylic.
  • To drill counter-mounted faucet holes, use an electric drill and an appropriately sized hole saw or spade bit.
  • Use a sharp spade bit to bore a 1-inch diameter hole through each end of every floorboard you have to replace.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Dig over (ground) with a spade: while spading the soil, I think of the flowers
More example sentences
  • We have also tried our roller on a wheat cover crop before planting soybeans, but it had little effect on the small weeds in the wheat and we ended up spading that ground before planting the soybeans.
  • In the spring she spaded a garden, but the carrots bent as if they'd hit metal and slugs tattered the lettuce.
  • He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work.
1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Move (soil) with a spade: earth is spaded into the grave
More example sentences
  • Dressed in yellow jackets, trousers and rubber boots, visitors can find excitement in spading gold-bearing sand and gravel into a metal pail.
  • ‘We propped up one end of the screen on a wheelbarrow and spaded the plants, compost and all, up onto the frame,’ she says.

Phrases

call a spade a spade

1
Speak plainly without avoiding unpleasant or embarrassing issues: it is time to name names and call a spade a spade
More example sentences
  • After a while, we started to talk and I began to like him, because he's funny and he's straightforward and he calls a spade a spade.
  • And the president should not be criticized for being a straight shooter and calling a spade a spade.
  • So at one level this is an issue of clarity; the simple business of calling a spade a spade.

Derivatives

spadeful

1
Pronunciation: /ˈspeɪdfʊl/
noun (plural spadefuls)
Example sentences
  • Choose an open, sunny spot with a moisture-retentive, well-drained soil and dig over the earth to remove all weeds before adding a few spadefuls of organic matter.
  • Short removes two spadefuls of sand and black, viscous oil slowly begins to fill the new pit.
  • This hypothesis crumbled at the first spadeful below the topsoil.

Origin

Old English spadu, spada, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch spade, German Spaten, also to Greek spathē 'blade, paddle'.

More
  • A spade for digging is related to Greek spathē ‘blade or paddle’ and has been in the language since Anglo-Saxon times, while the spade that appears on a playing card dates from the 16th century. The latter is based on Italian spada ‘a broad-bladed sword’, though the design (a black upside-down heart shape with a stalk) looks more like a pointed spade than a sword. To call a spade a spade, ‘to speak plainly, without avoiding unpleasant or embarrassing issues’, dates from the mid 16th century. In The Importance of Being Earnest ( 1895), Oscar Wilde has the nicely brought up Miss Gwendolen Fairfax respond to this: ‘I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade’. A tongue-in-cheek variation, dating from the early 20th century, is call a spade a shovel. In spades means ‘to a very high degree’, or ‘as much as or more than could be desired’, and comes from the card game bridge, in which spades are the highest-ranking suit.

Words that rhyme with spade

abrade, afraid, aid, aide, ambuscade, arcade, balustrade, barricade, Belgrade, blade, blockade, braid, brigade, brocade, cannonade, carronade, cascade, cavalcade, cockade, colonnade, crusade, dissuade, downgrade, enfilade, esplanade, evade, fade, fusillade, glade, grade, grenade, grillade, handmade, harlequinade, homemade, invade, jade, lade, laid, lemonade, limeade, made, maid, man-made, marinade, masquerade, newlaid, orangeade, paid, palisade, parade, pasquinade, persuade, pervade, raid, serenade, shade, Sinéad, staid, stockade, stock-in-trade, suede, tailor-made, they'd, tirade, trade, Ubaid, underpaid, undismayed, unplayed, unsprayed, unswayed, upbraid, upgrade, wade

Definition of spade in:

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There are 2 main definitions of spade in English:

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spade 2 Line breaks: spade

noun

1 (spades) One of the four suits in a conventional pack of playing cards, denoted by a black inverted heart-shaped figure with a small stalk.
Example sentences
  • Because of the difference in score, clubs and diamonds are called the minor suits and hearts and spades are the major suits.
  • Normally, a standard deck's 52 cards are divided equally among four suits: spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts.
  • If your pack of cards has no joker, the two of spades can be used as a substitute.
1.1 (a spade) A card of the suit of spades.
Example sentences
  • The trump maker leads a spade which player A wins with the ace, becoming the first partner.
  • The trumps are a suit of their own for suit following purposes - for example, in a normal game, the queen of spades is a trump, not a spade.
  • The player to dealer's left leads any card except a spade to the first trick.
2 informal, offensive A black person.
Example sentences
  • It is a time before political correctness full stop, when you could call a black man a spade and you would probably get a primetime TV soap as a result.

Phrases

in spades

1
informal To a very high degree: he got his revenge now in spades
More example sentences
  • Shaw's staff thought the world of him, and their loyalty was repaid in spades.
  • Realize that whatever you do to me, I'm likely to do to you in spades.
  • Needless to say, to successfully achieve such remarkable feats required all four of the above virtues in spades.

Origin

Late 16th century: from Italian spade, plural of spada 'sword', via Latin from Greek spathē; compare with spade1.

More
  • A spade for digging is related to Greek spathē ‘blade or paddle’ and has been in the language since Anglo-Saxon times, while the spade that appears on a playing card dates from the 16th century. The latter is based on Italian spada ‘a broad-bladed sword’, though the design (a black upside-down heart shape with a stalk) looks more like a pointed spade than a sword. To call a spade a spade, ‘to speak plainly, without avoiding unpleasant or embarrassing issues’, dates from the mid 16th century. In The Importance of Being Earnest ( 1895), Oscar Wilde has the nicely brought up Miss Gwendolen Fairfax respond to this: ‘I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade’. A tongue-in-cheek variation, dating from the early 20th century, is call a spade a shovel. In spades means ‘to a very high degree’, or ‘as much as or more than could be desired’, and comes from the card game bridge, in which spades are the highest-ranking suit.

Definition of spade in:

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