spick and span(redirected from be spick and span)
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.
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.
spick and spanmainly 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'.
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).