call a spade a spade

Explanation: What is an idiom?

Being straightforward about something with no objections.


-What do you think of Mr. Smith? He's to be my new math teacher and I'm curious as to what he's like.

-Well, he's a very good teacher although I must warn you he calls a spade a spade, so if you give the wrong answer he'll tell you… and it might not be the most pleasant of remarks.


This saying originates from classical Greek and is thought to actually be 'calling a fig a fig, and a trough a trough' but Erasmus translated it to shovel and it is believed that the introduction of that word could have been purposely chosen and not been a mis-translation.

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