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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #75)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 09:59 PM

76. bad thing about homophones

it does create confusion. I think the accused is honestly confounded.
The phrase was introduced to English in 1542 in Nicolas Udall's translation of Apophthegmes, that is to saie, prompte saiynges.

The phrase predates the use of the word "spade" as an ethnic slur against African Americans, which was not recorded until 1928; however, in contemporary U.S. society, the idiom is often avoided due to potential confusion with the slur and/or confusion with playing card references such as "black as the ace of spades".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_call_a_spade_a_spade

Sometimes interpreted as derogatory from the sense of spade that refers to a black person. However those two expressions are etymologically unrelated; this refers to the digging instrument, and the other to the card suit.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/call_a_spade_a_spade

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