call a spade a spade

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call a spade a spade

To address or describe the true nature of someone or something, even if it is unpleasant. The term originated from a translation of an ancient Greek phrase, but is considered offensive by some due to the later use of the word "spade" as a racial slur. I know you like Jason, but he's a jerk! I'm sorry, but I have to call a spade a spade. You have to call a spade a spade and acknowledge the corruption built into this system!
See also: call, spade

call a spade a spade

Fig. to call something by its right name; to speak frankly about something, even if it is unpleasant. (Considered offensive by some. Use only with discretion.) Well, I believe it's time to call a spade a spade. We are just avoiding the issue. Let's call a spade a spade. The man is a liar.
See also: call, spade

call a spade a spade

to tell the unpleasant truth about something Let's call a spade a spade – Brad is a very poor student.
See also: call, spade

call a spade a spade

to tell the truth about something, even if it is not polite or pleasant You know me, I call a spade a spade and when I see someone behaving like an idiot, I tell them.
See also: call, spade

call a spade a spade

Speak frankly and bluntly, be explicit, as in You can always trust Mary to call a spade a spade. This term comes from a Greek saying, call a bowl a bowl, that was mistranslated into Latin by Erasmus and came into English in the 1500s. Also see tell it like it is.
See also: call, spade

call a spade a spade

To speak plainly and forthrightly.
See also: call, spade