Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

call a spade a spade

Definition of call a spade a spade

  1. :  to speak in an honest and direct way <Why don't you just call a spade a spade and say that he's a liar?>

Word by Word Definitions

  1. :  to speak in a loud distinct voice so as to be heard at a distance :  shout

    :  to make a request or demand

    :  to utter a characteristic note or cry

  1. :  an act of calling with the voice :  shout

    :  an imitation of the cry of a bird or other animal made to attract it

    :  an instrument used for calling

  1. :  a digging implement adapted for being pushed into the ground with the foot

    :  a spade-shaped instrument

  1. :  to dig up or out or shape with or as if with a spade

    :  to use a spade

  1. :  the suit comprising cards marked with spades

    :  a black figure that resembles a stylized spearhead on each playing card of one of the four suits

    :  a card marked with this figure

Learn More about call a spade a spade

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up call a spade a spade? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to proceed clumsily or ineffectually

Get Word of the Day daily email!