spick and span

(redirected from be spick and span)
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spick and span

Totally clean and/or organized. I plan to spend the day cleaning so that this place is spick and span when my mother-in-law arrives.
See also: and, span

spick and span

Neat and clean, as in When Ruth has finished cleaning, the whole house is spick and span. This term combines two nouns that are now obsolete, spick, "a nail" or "spike," and span, "a wooden chip." In the 1500s a sailing ship was considered spick and span when every spike and chip was brand-new. The transfer to the current sense took place in the mid-1800s.
See also: and, span

spick and span

mainly BRITISH
If a place is spick and span, it is very clean and tidy. Note: `Spick' is sometimes spelled `spic'. Ann was dusting the furniture, making sure her home was spick and span. The facilities were all spick and span. Note: You can also use spick-and-span before a noun. Its bright new buildings already resemble a spic-and-span Japanese car plant. Note: This expression has developed from an old-fashioned expression `spick and span-new', meaning `very new'. `Spick' probably came from a Dutch word meaning `new', and `span-new' meant `completely new'.
See also: and, span

ˌspick and ˈspan

(also ˌspic and ˈspan) clean, tidy and fresh: The boss likes everything spick and span in the office.
See also: and, span

spic and span

Neat and clean. A “spick” was a nail (as in “spike”), “span” was a wood shaving, and a new wooden object had shiny spicks in it and fresh spans around it. Over the years the meaning of newness was replaced by that of something fresh and clean (as a new object usually was).
See also: and, span, spic
References in periodicals archive ?
This is a particularly important year with it being the first year of the centenary of the First World War and we think it is important for the memorial to be spick and span.
Everything - vehicles, dogs, horses, equipment and, of course, the police officers themselves - had to be spick and span.
He expects his meal on the table as soon as he gets home and the house must be spick and span, even though I work full time and get very tired.
Our first picture shows housewives in Pine Street, Newcastle, who were determined their street would be spick and span for their street party.