call a spade a spade
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British pronunciation/kˈɔːl ɐ spˈeɪd ɐ spˈeɪd/
American pronunciation/kˈɔːl ɐ spˈeɪd ɐ spˈeɪd/
01

to talk about something in a completely open and direct way

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What is the origin of the idiom "call a spade a spade" and when to use it?

The idiom "call a spade a spade" originated from ancient Greece, with its earliest recorded use found in the works of the Greek philosopher Plutarch. The phrase has been traced back to his writings in the first century AD, where it was originally written in Greek as "to call a fig a fig and a trough a trough." The expression made its way into English in the 16th century, evolving into the form we use today. The idiom emphasizes straightforward and direct language, urging people to speak plainly and truthfully without euphemisms or beating around the bush.

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Example
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When it comes to performance reviews, it's better to call a spade a spade rather than use vague language that doesn't provide constructive feedback.
The manager, known for calling a spade a spade, didn't hesitate to point out the team's shortcomings.
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Meaning of "To [call] a spade a spade"
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