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.

    • ‘If there is a moment, I still get my spades, forks and secateurs and go out and do some work.’
    • ‘An electric bench grinder is the most efficient way to recover the cutting edges on shovels, spades, hoes, and lawn mower blades.’
    • ‘Some 30 pupils, all aged 13 or 14, picked up spades and shovels to improve the school's landscape.’
    • ‘He prefers the Irish spade, with its longer, narrower blade, to English and American models.’
    • ‘The rules and regulations were explained and they were given basic digging implements - a spade and a fork.’
    • ‘Armed with their metal detectors, spades and uncontrollable imaginations the assembled horde scattered to all corners of the field in search of treasure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said they left behind tools they had used to damage the trees including a saw, a spade and a fork.’
    • ‘Hand tools such as spades, shovels and sickles, which currently attracted a 16 per cent excise duty, would also be fully exempted.’
    • ‘He merely turned over huge clods of earth with one twist of a big spade and left them there, weeds still intact.’
    • ‘Use a spading fork or shovel to lift clumps, then cut the clumps into sections with a spade, shovel, sharp knife, or pruning shears.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The hardware stores sold spades, forks, rakes and all sorts of farming implements.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A few shiny buckets hung from a hook and some new tools, brushes, spades and shovels stood beside the door.’
    • ‘For a start, get a good spade, with a long enough handle for your height.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A good man to handle a shovel or spade, Eddie went quietly about his business, a gentleman throughout his life.’
    oar, scull, sweep, blade, spoon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A tool shaped like a spade but used for another purpose, especially one for removing the blubber from a whale.
    2. 1.2as modifier Shaped like a spade.
      ‘a spade bit’
      • ‘To drill the latch hole on the edge of the door, use the spade bit specified by the manufacturer.’
      • ‘Large bits, such as spade bits, will require a little more speed, up to as high as 5000 RPM.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This leaves the unsupported spade rudder quite vulnerable to damage should it be grounded even in a soft bottom.’
      • ‘Use a sharp spade bit to bore a 1-inch diameter hole through each end of every floorboard you have to replace.’
      • ‘The guns are actuated by a three-way switch on the spade grip of the stick.’
      • ‘The spade bit, when used properly, works well on acrylic.’
      • ‘Try to remove some of the material first with a spade bit or drill bit.’
      • ‘A set of standard mackerel feathers, often tied using spade end commercial haddock hooks, are ideal.’
      • ‘To drill counter-mounted faucet holes, use an electric drill and an appropriately sized hole saw or spade bit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Other useful attachments include hole saw blades, spade bits, buffing disks and depth stops, screw driving bits, sanding disks, or even a power grinder.’
      • ‘Then I will tend to revert to the neater spade end hook.’
      • ‘Your next step is drilling the latch hole on the edge of the door, using the specified spade bit.’

verb

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

    ‘while spading the soil, I think of the flowers’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the spring she spaded a garden, but the carrots bent as if they'd hit metal and slugs tattered the lettuce.’
    • ‘Seeds should be broadcast in the fall or early spring in well-drained sandy soil that has been well spaded or raked.’
    • ‘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.’
    cultivate, till, harrow, plough, turn over, work, break up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with 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’
      • ‘So at one level this is an issue of clarity; the simple business of calling a spade a spade.’
      • ‘It's high time people started calling 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.’’
      • ‘A source described him as extremely straightforward, somebody who calls a spade a spade and has no hidden agenda.’
      • ‘He called a spade a spade and in many ways was an archetypal Yorkshireman - blunt and straight to the point.’
      • ‘She has people rooting for her in this country simply because she calls a spade a spade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They had the greatest difficulty in calling a spade a spade or a killing a killing: rather it was ‘expressing violence’.’
      • ‘And the president should not be criticized for being a straight shooter and 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.’
      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

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

    • ‘If at anytime the queen of spades is dealt face up, the game resets and the pot stays in.’
    • ‘When the reserve cards are equal the suits rank in descending order: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs.’
    • ‘They cannot take a trick, and are great to have when you don't want to play that Queen of spades.’
    • ‘He led the four of spades and East won with the king.’
    • ‘The Queen of spades may be placed only on the King 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Normally, a standard deck's 52 cards are divided equally among four suits: spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts.’
    • ‘In this case the player with the ace of spades can call.’
    • ‘Diamonds are highest, followed by clubs, then spades, then hearts.’
    • ‘The audience could see it was four of spades though not the magician.’
    • ‘The ace of spades is the most powerful card, irrespective of what suit is trumps.’
    • ‘Because of the difference in score, clubs and diamonds are called the minor suits and hearts and spades are the major suits.’
    • ‘There is no ranking between the suits - so for example the king of hearts and the king of spades are equal.’
    • ‘Once the nine of spades is played, then the ten may be played, and so on.’
    • ‘In all four trump structures, the queen of clubs is the highest card, the 7 of trump second, and the queen of spades third.’
    • ‘Each heart scores one point, and the queen of spades scores 13 points.’
    1. 1.1a spade A card of the suit of spades.
      • ‘You have a pair of kings, three spades, and no chance for a straight.’
      • ‘But suppose that after looking at your first four cards, they're all 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If a spade is turned it is put back in the middle of the talon and the next card is turned up for trumps.’
      • ‘The player to dealer's left leads any card except a spade to the first trick.’
      • ‘Take out of the deck three clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades for every player.’
      • ‘Between equal ranked pairs, the pair containing the spade is higher, irrespective of the suit of the other card.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He dropped a spade on the first card and looked at her as she tossed another on top of his.’
      • ‘If the player on lead has no ace, a spade must be led.’
      • ‘Lots of low spades are usually good but can win lots of hearts.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Player 3 is allowed to play the club even though he has a spade.’
      • ‘If the first card is not a spade, then player 3 then plays a card.’
      • ‘In no trump bids, the two of spades resumes its normal function as a spade.’
      • ‘If the knock card is a spade, the points are doubled’
  • 2offensive, informal A black person.

Phrases

  • in spades

    • informal To a very high degree.

      ‘he got his revenge now in spades’
      • ‘Politically, this decision of Charles's is paying off in spades.’
      • ‘Shaw's staff thought the world of him, and their loyalty was repaid 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is a gift, and this silver-tongued charmer has it 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.’
      • ‘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 spade.

Pronunciation

spade

/speɪd/