RARA-AVIS: What Bloody Shovel Is This?

EJM Duggan (ejmd@mcmail.com)
Wed, 03 Feb 1999 22:28:32 -0800 On Wed, 3 Feb 1999, billha@ionet.net (Bill Hagen) wrote:

> 1. "wise guys"

> So how did the term get narrowed to mafia gangsters who are not
> usually portrayed as being that swift with the repartee?


> 2. In an article on Eric Ambler, a critic refers to the phrase "calling a
> spade a bloody shovel."

The phrase is used to describe someone who'll speak their mind without
mincing words.
It derives from the phrase 'call a spade a spade' ie, to avoid
To call a spade 'a spade' is then to be straightforward and avoid
dissembling; to call a spade 'a bloody shovel' is to be still more


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