great care in maintaining smart appearance and crisp efficiency:
The commander was concerned more with spit and polish than with the company’s morale.
spit and polish
(informal) punctilious attention to neatness, discipline, etc, esp in the armed forces
spin one’s wheels
spit and polish
Close attention to appearance and order, as in With a little spit and polish this house will sell very quickly. This expression originated in the military, presumably alluding to literally shining up something with the aid of a little saliva. There it also came to mean “too much attention to appearance, and not enough to more important concerns,” as in The commander is so concerned with spit and polish that he overlooks the crew’s morale. [ Late 1800s ]


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