Monday, 29 June 2015

There is no 'spick' without 'span'

When we have something ‘spick and span’ it means things are tidy, organised and clean. The phrase may have been popularized by a cleaning product of the same name in America from the 1930s. But it existed long before and actually goes back to 1665 when Samuel Pepys wrote ‘My Lady Batten was walking along the dirty lane with spick and span white shoes’. 

Over time, the meaning drifted away from anything that was brand new, as Pepys had used it, to anything that is clean and tidy, as if it was brand new. 

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