Main definitions of spade in English

: spade1spade2

spade1

noun

  • 1A tool with a sharp-edged, typically rectangular, metal blade and a long handle, used for digging or cutting earth, sand, turf, etc.

    • ‘For a start, get a good spade, with a long enough handle for your height.’
    • ‘A few shiny buckets hung from a hook and some new tools, brushes, spades and shovels stood beside the door.’
    • ‘He merely turned over huge clods of earth with one twist of a big spade and left them there, weeds still intact.’
    • ‘An electric bench grinder is the most efficient way to recover the cutting edges on shovels, spades, hoes, and lawn mower blades.’
    • ‘Armed with their metal detectors, spades and uncontrollable imaginations the assembled horde scattered to all corners of the field in search of treasure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some 30 pupils, all aged 13 or 14, picked up spades and shovels to improve the school's landscape.’
    • ‘Others are harder to deal with and have to be cut with a knife or the sharp edge of a spade if the clump is big.’
    • ‘Hand tools such as spades, shovels and sickles, which currently attracted a 16 per cent excise duty, would also be fully exempted.’
    • ‘He said they left behind tools they had used to damage the trees including a saw, a spade and a fork.’
    • ‘He prefers the Irish spade, with its longer, narrower blade, to English and American models.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Volunteers will be very welcome on Wednesday evening and every other Wednesday and they are asked to bring along a spade, shovel, rake or brush because the first evening will be a general clean up.’
    • ‘Approaches to dwelling houses and farms were cleared by men with spades and shovels - bulldozers weren't part of the scene for several years afterwards.’
    • ‘A good man to handle a shovel or spade, Eddie went quietly about his business, a gentleman throughout his life.’
    • ‘Visitors seized the forks and spades that had been temptingly placed by a nasty patch of brambles and nettles and began to clear a new bed that will be used for pumpkins, sweet corn and tomatoes in a few weeks.’
    • ‘The hardware stores sold spades, forks, rakes and all sorts of farming implements.’
    • ‘The rules and regulations were explained and they were given basic digging implements - a spade and a fork.’
    • ‘Use a spading fork or shovel to lift clumps, then cut the clumps into sections with a spade, shovel, sharp knife, or pruning shears.’
    • ‘If there is a moment, I still get my spades, forks and secateurs and go out and do some work.’
    oar, scull, sweep, blade, spoon, spade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A tool shaped like a spade but used for another purpose, especially one for removing the blubber from a whale.
    2. 1.2[as modifier]Shaped like a spade.
      ‘a spade bit’
      • ‘Then I will tend to revert to the neater spade end hook.’
      • ‘All of the hooks I have seen show a simple round bend design with either an open eye or a spade end and have been made from iron.’
      • ‘Try to remove some of the material first with a spade bit or drill bit.’
      • ‘Other useful attachments include hole saw blades, spade bits, buffing disks and depth stops, screw driving bits, sanding disks, or even a power grinder.’
      • ‘To drill the latch hole on the edge of the door, use the spade bit specified by the manufacturer.’
      • ‘To drill counter-mounted faucet holes, use an electric drill and an appropriately sized hole saw or spade bit.’
      • ‘The spade bit, when used properly, works well on acrylic.’
      • ‘Your next step is drilling the latch hole on the edge of the door, using the specified spade bit.’
      • ‘Large bits, such as spade bits, will require a little more speed, up to as high as 5000 RPM.’
      • ‘A set of standard mackerel feathers, often tied using spade end commercial haddock hooks, are ideal.’
      • ‘She is very well mannered in conditions that would give fits to the helmsmen of modem boats with high aspect fin keels and spade rudders.’
      • ‘The guns are actuated by a three-way switch on the spade grip of the stick.’
      • ‘Use a sharp spade bit to bore a 1-inch diameter hole through each end of every floorboard you have to replace.’
      • ‘This leaves the unsupported spade rudder quite vulnerable to damage should it be grounded even in a soft bottom.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Dig over (ground) with a spade.

    ‘while spading the soil, I think of the flowers’
    • ‘In the spring she spaded a garden, but the carrots bent as if they'd hit metal and slugs tattered the lettuce.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Seeds should be broadcast in the fall or early spring in well-drained sandy soil that has been well spaded or raked.’
    • ‘He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work.’
    • ‘And by the end of the landscaping season, I was lifting 30 pounds of lime and soil and spading flower beds.’
    cultivate, till, harrow, plough, turn over, work, break up, spade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial of direction]Move (soil) with a spade.
      ‘earth is spaded into the grave’
      • ‘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

    • Speak plainly without avoiding unpleasant or embarrassing issues.

      ‘it is time to name names and call a spade a spade’
      • ‘It's high time people started calling a spade a spade.’
      • ‘Finally a report that calls a spade a spade on the country's dangerous love affair with the demon drink.’
      • ‘They had the greatest difficulty in calling a spade a spade or a killing a killing: rather it was ‘expressing violence’.’
      • ‘He called a spade a spade and in many ways was an archetypal Yorkshireman - blunt and straight to the point.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Given the enormous amount of evidence that supports that conclusion, I just don't think it's reasonable to say that calling a spade a spade in this case is ‘hackneyed, inappropriate and immature.’’
      • ‘And the president should not be criticized for being a straight shooter and calling a spade a spade.’
      • ‘She has people rooting for her in this country simply because she calls a spade a spade.’
      • ‘So at one level this is an issue of clarity; the simple business of calling a spade a spade.’
      • ‘A source described him as extremely straightforward, somebody who calls a spade a spade and has no hidden agenda.’
      insensitive, inconsiderate, thoughtless, unthinking, indelicate, undiplomatic, impolitic, indiscreet, unsubtle, clumsy, heavy-handed, graceless, awkward, unpolished, inept, bungling, maladroit, gauche, undiscerning, unsophisticated
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

spade

/speɪd/

Main definitions of spade in English

: spade1spade2

spade2

noun

  • 1One of the four suits in a conventional pack of playing cards, denoted by a black inverted heart-shaped figure with a small stalk.

    • ‘The Queen of spades may be placed only on the King of spades.’
    • ‘The audience could see it was four of spades though not the magician.’
    • ‘In this case the player with the ace of spades can call.’
    • ‘Each heart scores one point, and the queen of spades scores 13 points.’
    • ‘When the reserve cards are equal the suits rank in descending order: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs.’
    • ‘In all four trump structures, the queen of clubs is the highest card, the 7 of trump second, and the queen of spades third.’
    • ‘Once the nine of spades is played, then the ten may be played, and so on.’
    • ‘Normally, a standard deck's 52 cards are divided equally among four suits: spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts.’
    • ‘He led the four of spades and East won with the king.’
    • ‘The trump suit is clubs if all three succeeded, hearts if two, spades if one or diamonds if no-one fulfilled their contract.’
    • ‘Some players play with only one joker, but use the deuce of spades as permanent second highest trump in the game.’
    • ‘Diamonds are highest, followed by clubs, then spades, then hearts.’
    • ‘The ace of spades is the most powerful card, irrespective of what suit is trumps.’
    • ‘There is no ranking between the suits - so for example the king of hearts and the king of spades are equal.’
    • ‘Because of the difference in score, clubs and diamonds are called the minor suits and hearts and spades are the major suits.’
    • ‘They cannot take a trick, and are great to have when you don't want to play that Queen of spades.’
    • ‘If spades are trumps then an extra double is automatically applied to the final scores.’
    • ‘If your pack of cards has no joker, the two of spades can be used as a substitute.’
    • ‘An Ace of hearts would lose to it, but a two of spades would beat the joker.’
    • ‘If at anytime the queen of spades is dealt face up, the game resets and the pot stays in.’
    1. 1.1A card of the suit of spades.
      • ‘Lots of low spades are usually good but can win lots of hearts.’
      • ‘If the knock card is a spade, the points are doubled’
      • ‘The other players must all play spades if they can, but players 2 and 3 have no spades and so are allowed to play other suits.’
      • ‘But suppose that after looking at your first four cards, they're all spades.’
      • ‘If the player on lead has no ace, a spade must be led.’
      • ‘For example, if you expose the queen of spades, then the first time that someone leads a spade you are not allowed to play the queen if you have other spades.’
      • ‘You are not allowed to nominate a suit in which you have previously shown void - for example if you have previously discarded a diamond on a spade lead by someone else, you cannot later lead the joker and call it a spade.’
      • ‘In no trump bids, the two of spades resumes its normal function as a spade.’
      • ‘Consequently, when a player claims his seventh card, he should do this by putting it face up on top of the first six cards claimed, and it must be a spade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the first card is not a spade, then player 3 then plays a card.’
      • ‘Also, because he knows that player two's card is already a spade, he turns over all the cards that aren't spades as well.’
      • ‘The trump maker leads a spade which player A wins with the ace, becoming the first partner.’
      • ‘You have a pair of kings, three spades, and no chance for a straight.’
      • ‘Take out of the deck three clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades for every player.’
      • ‘Player 3 is allowed to play the club even though he has a spade.’
      • ‘Between equal ranked pairs, the pair containing the spade is higher, irrespective of the suit of the other card.’
      • ‘If a spade is turned it is put back in the middle of the talon and the next card is turned up for trumps.’
      • ‘He dropped a spade on the first card and looked at her as she tossed another on top of his.’
      • ‘The player to dealer's left leads any card except a spade to the first trick.’
  • 2informal, offensive A black person.

Phrases

  • in spades

    • informal To a very high degree.

      ‘he got his revenge now in spades’
      • ‘Try to avoid the obvious tourist traps as you'll miss out on the ambience and unique characters that more traditional halls have in spades.’
      • ‘A lesser wine from one of the region's top producers, this delivers cherries, tea, acidity and tannins in spades.’
      • ‘It called upon qualities that neither one of us has in spades, to kind of sell yourself and sell this product.’
      • ‘And he has repaid that faith in spades, humility and understatement his trademark all season, on and off the field.’
      • ‘Realize that whatever you do to me, I'm likely to do to you in spades.’
      • ‘Shaw's staff thought the world of him, and their loyalty was repaid in spades.’
      • ‘It is a gift, and this silver-tongued charmer has it in spades.’
      • ‘Needless to say, to successfully achieve such remarkable feats required all four of the above virtues in spades.’
      • ‘Sincerity isn't what normally comes to mind when talking about pop music, but these two sets of twins have it in spades.’
      • ‘Politically, this decision of Charles's is paying off in spades.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

spade

/speɪd/