What Does the Expression “Spick and Span” Mean and How Did the Phrase Originate?

Today, Spick and Span is a trade name for a well-known cleaner.

But the expression began in the fourteenth century as the nautical term “spick and span new,” to describe a freshly built or refurbished ship.

A spick was a spike, while span was a Viking reference to new wood, but also means any distance between two extremities, such as the bow and stern of a ship.

what does the expression spick and span mean and how did the phrase originate

The wooden ship was so clean that even the spikes looked new.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.