a tool for digging, having an iron blade adapted for pressing into the ground with the foot and a long handle commonly with a grip or crosspiece at the top, and with the blade usually narrower and flatter than that of a shovel.
some implement, piece, or part resembling this.
a sharp projection on the bottom of a gun trail, designed to dig into the earth to restrict backward movement of the carriage during recoil.
to dig, cut, or remove with a spade (sometimes followed by up):
Let’s spade up the garden and plant some flowers.
call a spade a spade, to call something by its real name; be candidly explicit; speak plainly or bluntly:
To call a spade a spade, he’s a crook.
in spades, Informal.

in the extreme; positively:
He’s a hypocrite, in spades.
without restraint; outspokenly:
I told him what I thought, in spades.

a black figure shaped like an inverted heart and with a short stem at the cusp opposite the point, used on playing cards.
a card of the suit bearing such figures.

(used with a singular or plural verb) the suit so marked:
Spades is trump. Spades count double.
(used with a plural verb) Casino. the winning of seven spades or more.

Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
Contemporary Examples

Time To Cut Off Egypt Ali Gharib August 13, 2013
Will Cotton’s New Paintings of Katy Perry Isabel Wilkinson January 13, 2011
Rick Santorum’s Blue-Collar Fumble Andrew Romano March 6, 2012
Wonder How They Got That Howard Kurtz May 12, 2011
Eddie Murphy’s Road to Redemption Marlow Stern November 1, 2011

Historical Examples

Robert Annys: Poor Priest Annie Nathan Meyer
Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae Jennie Hall
The History of Company A, Second Illinois Cavalry Samuel H. Fletcher
The Mayflower, January, 1905 Various
Archaeological Essays, Vol. 1 James Y. Simpson

a tool for digging, typically consisting of a flat rectangular steel blade attached to a long wooden handle

an object or part resembling a spade in shape
(as modifier): a spade beard

a heavy metallic projection attached to the trail of a gun carriage that embeds itself into the ground and so reduces recoil
a type of oar blade that is comparatively broad and short Compare spoon (sense 6)
a cutting tool for stripping the blubber from a whale or skin from a carcass
call a spade a spade, to speak plainly and frankly
(transitive) to use a spade on

the black symbol on a playing card resembling a heart-shaped leaf with a stem
a card with one or more of these symbols or (when pl) the suit of cards so marked, usually the highest ranking of the four

a derogatory word for Black
(informal) in spades, in an extreme or emphatic way

The invitations to the musicale came sliding in by pairs and threes and spade flushes. [O.Henry, “Cabbages & Kings,” 1904]

Derogatory meaning “black person” is 1928, from the color of the playing card symbol.

call a spade a spade
do the spadework
in spades


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