Archive for February 27, 2011

idiom: to have something in spades

It’s Sunday here in Tokyo, and that means it’s time for another idiom. This week’s idiom is to have something “in spades”. Now first of all, I should explain what a spade is: It is either a garden tool used for digging or it’s one of the suits used in playing cards. There’s a picture of the king of spades above.

When we use “in spades” as an idiom, it means that someone has a very large amount of something. For example:

That girl has singing talent in spades. I think she’ll be a big star one day.

I’ve got money problems in spades right now. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might have to declare bankruptcy.

We don’t have to go to the DVD store. We have DVDs in spades here.

Bill has got confidence in spades. I wish I could be as confident as he is.

So, as you can see, we can use this idiom with both countable and uncountable nouns. Apparently, the origin of this expression comes from the card game of Bridge. In that game, the spades are considered the highest suit. So, I suppose, if you have a lot of spades, then you’ll be more likely to win the game.

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