spick and span
spick and span
- neat and clean
- fresh and new
- spotless, tidy, and organised
- The house was spick and span when the guests arrived. Jane must have been cleaning for hours.
- The office is always spick and span first thing in the morning and gets steadily messier as the day goes on.
- My aunt’s house is so spick and span that you hardly dare sit down in case you crease a cushion.
- She ensures that her house and kitchen are spick and span.
- Automatic vacuum cleaners are a blessing when it comes to keeping your house spick and span.
- Are you someone who loves keeping their home spick and span every day?
- We keep our homes and immediate surroundings spick-and-span, we do not think twice about littering public places with trash.
One of the original meanings for the noun ‘spick’ is spike or nail. ‘Span’ also has many meanings. One of which is ‘chip of wood’ and comes from an old Norse word, spann-nyr, (spann meaning chip of wood and nyr meaning new) and was adopted into the English language by the 1300s. The term was spicke and spanne newe by the 1600s.
In 1579 Sir Thomas North translated from Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (By Plutarch)
“They were all in goodly gilt armours, and brave purple cassocks apon them, spickle and spanne newe…”
There is a Dutch expression spiksplinternieuw which refers to the fresh timbers and nails of a newly built ship. Over time this phrase has become the idiom we know today and now refers to something new, clean, fresh, or unused.