1

spade

noun \ ˈspād \

Definition of spade

1 : a digging implement adapted for being pushed into the ground with the foot
2 : a spade-shaped instrument

spadeful

play \ˈspād-ˌfu̇l\ noun

Origin and Etymology of spade

Middle English, going back to Old English spadu, spædu, spade (plural spadan), going back to Germanic *spaðōn- (whence also Old Saxon spado "digging implement, spade," Old Frisian spada, early Modern German Spaten, Icelandic spaði), akin to Greek spáthē "any of various blade-like implements or objects," both going back to Indo-European *sph2-dh-, perhaps a suffixed derivative of the verbal base *speh2- "draw, pull out" — more at spasm
Note: Hittite išpann-, išpatar "spit, skewer" has also been compared, though according to Jaan Puhvel the stem would reflect *speh2-tr- rather than *speh2-dhr- (see Hittite Etymological Dictionary, vol. 1/2, pp. 450-51). Probably also relevant are Sanskrit sphya- "shoulder blade," Khotanese phvai "spade, shovel," perhaps reflecting *sph2-i-o- (for further Indo-Iranian comparanda see Manfred Mayrhofer, Kurzgefasstes etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindischen, 3. Band, p. 547; H.W. Bailey, Dictionary of Khotan Saka, Cambridge, 1979, p. 264).

First Known Use: before 12th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

Other Hardware Terms


2

spade

verb

Definition of spade

spaded; spading
: to dig up or out or shape with or as if with a spade
: to use a spade

spader

noun

Origin and Etymology of spade

verbal derivative of 1spade

First Known Use: circa 1647

in the meaning defined at transitive sense


3

spade

noun

Definition of spade

1 a spades plural in form but singular or plural in construction : the suit comprising cards marked with spades
b : a black figure that resembles a stylized spearhead on each playing card of one of the four suits; also : a card marked with this figure
2 offensive used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a black person
in spades
: to an unusually great degree : in the extreme

Origin and Etymology of spade

Italian spada or Spanish espada broadsword; both from Latin spatha, from Greek spathē blade

First Known Use: circa 1598

in the meaning defined at sense 1a


SPADE Defined for Kids

spade

noun \ ˈspād \

Definition of spade for Students

: a digging tool with a long handle that has a flat blade which can be pushed into the ground with the foot


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