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

spit and polish

noun

Simple Definition of spit and polish

  • : careful attention to making something clean and polished

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of spit and polish

  1. :  extreme attention to cleanliness, orderliness, smartness of appearance, and ceremony often at the expense of operational efficiency

spit–and–polish

adjective

Examples of spit and polish in a sentence

  1. All the car needs is some spit and polish.



Origin and Etymology of spit and polish

from the practice of polishing objects such as shoes by spitting on them and then rubbing them with a cloth


First Known Use: 1895


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of striking ability or excellence

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

vernal brumal estival hiemal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ