spit and polish


Definition of spit and polish

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

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Other Words from spit and polish

spit-and-polish adjective

Examples of spit and polish in a Sentence

All the car needs is some spit and polish.

Recent Examples on the Web

For the 2018 model year, the Range Rover Sport takes what Land Rover does well and puts another level of spit and polish on it. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "All SUV, all of the time: The Range Rover Sport reviewed," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spit and polish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of spit and polish

1895, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spit and polish

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

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Dictionary Entries near spit and polish




spit and polish

spit and vinegar



Statistics for spit and polish

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Time Traveler for spit and polish

The first known use of spit and polish was in 1895

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More Definitions for spit and polish

spit and polish


English Language Learners Definition of spit and polish

informal : careful attention to making something clean and polished

Comments on spit and polish

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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