To Call a Spade a Spade

There are recent allegations this is a racist term, but the origin is from ancient times and has nothing to do with race. Charles E. Funk in his book, “A Hog on Ice & Other Curious Expressions,” explains that the Greek works for spade, boat, and bowl are quite similar. The original expression was likely “to call a boat a boat,” which was intended to say, just as with the current version, “…to call a thing by its right name to avoid euphemism or beating around the bush.” To lend credibility to that theory of the origin, Erasmus said in the sixteenth century, “…to call a fig a fig and a boat a boat.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *