One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in the card games ombre and quadrille) the ace of spades.
- ‘The black aces are always Matadors: the Ace of Spades is spadille and is always the highest trump card and the Ace of Clubs is basta, which is always the third highest trump.’
- ‘If the next player has the spadille and no other trumps he need not play the spadille, but may play any card.’
Late 17th century: from French, from Spanish espadilla, diminutive of espada ‘sword’ (see spade).
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