- The definition of spick and span is someone or something that is completely or extremely clean and tidy, with no dirt and nothing out of place.
An example of spick and span is a clean and sterilized hospital room or a room in your home that has just been cleaned and vacuumed from top to bottom.
- new or fresh
- neat and clean
Origin of spick-and-spanshort for spick-and-span-new ; from spick, variant, variety of spike + span-new ; from Middle English spon-neowe ; from Old Norse spān-nȳr ; from spānn, a chip, shaving + nȳr, new
- Immaculately clean; spotless: “young men in spick-and-span uniforms” (Edith Wharton).
- Brand-new; fresh.
Origin of spick-and-spanShort for obsolete spick and span-new : spick, spike (variant of spike1) + span-new.
(comparative more spick-and-span, superlative most spick-and-span)
From spick-and-span-new (literally “new as a recently made spike and chip of wood”) (1570s), from spick (“nail”) (variant of spike) + Middle English span-new (“very new”) (from circa 1300 until 1800s), from Old Norse span-nyr, from spann (“chip”) (cognate to Old English spón, Modern English spoon, due to old spoons being made of wood) + nyr (“new”) (cognate to Old English nīwe, Modern English new). Imitation of Dutch spiksplinter nieuw (literally “spike-splinter new”) , for a freshly built ship. Observe that fresh woodchips are firm and light (if from light wood), but decay and darken rapidly, hence the origin of the term.