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the spitting image of (one)
A person who looks exactly like or bears a very strong resemblance to one. Wow, you are just the spitting image of your mother! I was about to call you by her name. That guy over there looks like the spitting image of someone I went to high school with.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A precise resemblance, especially in closely related persons. For example, Dirk is the spitting image of his grandfather. This idiom alludes to the earlier use of the noun spit for "likeness," in turn probably derived from an old proverb, "as like as one as if he had been spit out of his mouth" (c. 1400). The current idiom dates from about 1900.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
spitting image, the
An exact resemblance, usually said of parent and child or other close relatives. This term comes from the earlier spit and image, which, since spit meant “likeness,” was redundant. Nevertheless, it was widely used from the late nineteenth century on, and by the mid-twentieth century, probably through mispronunciation or misspelling, was converted to the current cliché.
See also: spit
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer