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Spit and image or spitting image?

(15 Posts)
Holidayshopping Sat 04-May-19 16:20:31

I always thought it was the ‘spit and image’ (my DD is the spit and image of me! etc) but see it written increasingly as spitting image which I thought the 80s/90s TV program invented as a piss take of the phrase itself?

Did it used to be spit and image? Is spitting image wrong or has the term evolved and that is now acceptable?!

ILoveMaxiBondi Sat 04-May-19 16:27:54

It’s always been spitting image AFAIK.

ChrisPrattsFace Sat 04-May-19 16:28:36

Always knowing it as spitting image!

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sat 04-May-19 16:29:28

Spitting image. Always AFAIK.

ChicCroissant Sat 04-May-19 16:29:36

I agree that it's always been spitting image - have occasionally heard spit as a shortening of the phrase (she's the spit of x) but never spit and image.

Singlenotsingle Sat 04-May-19 16:31:22

Spitting image

AlunWynsKnee Sat 04-May-19 16:31:26

A quick Google suggests it was spit and image but that spitting image has been common for the last 100 years.

ChicCroissant Sat 04-May-19 17:41:05

Well I am under 100 years of age which might be why I've never heard it myself.

Aridane Sat 04-May-19 18:54:38

Aridane Sat 04-May-19 18:55:09

Spit and image vs. spitting image
Ginger software corrected 98% of people who misused ‘Spit and image vs. spitting image’
Spitting image is the usual modern form of the idiom meaning exact likeness, duplicate, or counterpart. The original phrase was spit and image, inspired by the Biblical God‘s use of spit and mud to create Adam in his image. But spitting image has been far more common than spit and image for over a century.

A few writers still use spit and image, but trying to keep the original idiom alive is probably a lost cause. Though it is older and makes more logical sense, it can also be distracting to readers who have been hearing spitting image their whole lives. Of course, spitting image can be just as distracting to some careful readers.


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But Olsen is delighted with her beloved horse’s spitting image. [Washington Post]

American folk singer Dani Shay is a spitting image of the teenage heartthrob. [Telegraph]

It doesn’t hurt that at just 12 years old, Bianca is already 1.86m tall and the spitting image of her mother. [New Zealand Herald]

Suffice it to say that Stalin’s son, the spitting image of his father, strides onto the scene. [Wall Street Journal]

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Thomas Pampush says:
March 8, 2012 at 11:33 am
inre. should be just “re:”

walkerpix says:
March 17, 2013 at 10:35 am
William said it was spirit and image “spi’it ‘n image”
makes the most sense to me

Dan Batey says:
July 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Spirit and image.

gtrammarma says:
April 8, 2013 at 8:23 am
the New York TImes used Spit and Image just yesterday, so this is why i looked it up (they do make mistakes sometimes, or quote people who do, such as the very urban gay marriage proponent who said that getting a gay marriage bill through states like Mississippi would be a ‘hard road to how’ [sic – this common mistake shows how little understanding this guy must have of farming or even mild gardening!]

disqus_oihG9fHzL3 says:
June 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm
Or a typo, since the ‘w’ and ‘e’ keys are right next to each other.

Holly says:
June 7, 2013 at 7:39 pm
Well, except it’s “row to hoe”, so it’s an issue of not knowing that the saying is directly farm-related.

pixiedust8 says:
November 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm
The row vs road is easy to understand, but I don’t see how anyone would say “how.” That’s not an aural error. That’s an entirely different pronunciation that would not hinge on any lack of farm knowledge.

Jackie J Jones says:
September 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm
I don’t get it. Who pronounces ‘how’ as ‘ho’?

Grammar Cop says:
October 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm
“Spitten” is a non-standard (read: incorrect) form of the past participle of “spit.” The past participle is “spat” throughout the English-speaking world, although “spit” as a past participle is common in North America and is considered an acceptable variant. “Spitted” as a past participle is only used when referring to meat impaled on a skewer or spit.

Guest says:
October 18, 2014 at 2:16 am
And then there’s how my BF says it…splitting image! That kinda makes sense too. But wrong……

Pierre Grandjouan says:
January 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm
Spit and image : cf Rebecca West, black lamb and grey falcon, penguin Ed, p101

Portia McCracken says:
July 3, 2015 at 9:44 am
I was bred and buttered in the American South 72 years ago, and it has always been “spit and image” here; however, the way we say it is “spit ‘n’ image,” thus, I suppose, the transmogrification to “spittin’ image” and finally to “spitting image” (which I heard just this morning on the BBC radio).

Jackie J Jones says:
September 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm
According to Yale linguist Laurence Horn (who wrote about the original being ‘spitten image’) ‘spit’ is an archaic euphemism for a different bodily fluid. I’d always heard Adam was made from Almighty spit and dirt. (Actually, I prefer ‘earth’.)


Aridane Sat 04-May-19 18:56:17


SherlockHolmes Sat 04-May-19 23:40:54

It's spitting image. Always has been. You're wrong.

TheCanterburyWhales Sun 05-May-19 12:28:11

No, Sherlock, you're wrong. The modern "spitting image" derives from "spit and image" as others have said.
The term changed with a pronunciation meld.

Knitclubchatter Sun 05-May-19 12:45:19

I’m familiar with the term splitting image.
I see it’s a common mispronunciation that’s also popular.

thelastgoldeneagle Wed 08-May-19 14:20:22

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