1. (orig. US) a black person, esp. West Indian or African.
|TAD Lex. (1993) 76: Herman Fliffer the Sausalito spade who is as black as the inside of a cow has no yellow streak visible.in Zwilling|
|Smile A Minute 142: I seen a colored guy comin’ out of the next place, and I guess that was No. 400 on account of spades bein’ double.|
|Home to Harlem 26: Spades beyond Eighth Avenue.|
|Eve. News (Rockhampton, Qld) 27 May 3/1: A revolver is called a ‘gat’ in many circles; and the Americanisms, ‘spade’ (a negro) and ‘broad’ (a woman) are commonly used in Sydney.|
|Metronome Aug. 16: The blues those spades put in my ear was great stuff.|
|Really the Blues 214: Half of them will say they had enough ’cause some spade just took a drink out of it.|
|Lonely Londoners 76: Wherever in London that it have Working Class, there you will find a lot of spades.|
|Cockade (1965) I iv: Nothing wrong with the Spades so long as they stick to themselves – I’m not discriminated.‘Prisoner and Escort’ in|
|Arrivants 29: To hell with Africa to hell with Europe too, just call my blue black bloody spade a spade and kiss my ass.‘Prelude’ in|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 35: He’s yo’ number one ‘spade,’ dig?|
|Happy Like Murderers 153: There were no spades. It was very rare to see a black person.|
|in Jack of Jumps (2007) 47: A lot of other spades used to go there.|
|(con. 1980s) Skagboys 239: Inner London’s pretty much ruled by the spade and the yuppie.|
|Rough Riders 46: Kind of what the Tea Party doing, right? Calling Obama a spade.|
|The Force [ebook] ‘Could have been a Spade. they sure as shit gunning up’.|
2. an Indian.
|Viper 106: It sounded like a spade to me. An Indian spade.|
(US) the black area of a town or city.
|Gentleman Junkie 24: Spadesville, there’s usually a g-game going on.‘Gentleman Junkie’ in|
|Diet of Treacle (2008) 174: I holed up in a little bar in the middle of Spadesville.|
(US gay) a respected black homosexual.
|‘Gayspeak’ Quarterly Journal of Speech 62 256–66: Queen [...] may be used to build a limitless series of images: [...] Queen of Spades (black with high status).|
SE in slang uses
(S.Afr. campus) flirtation.
|Eng. Usage in Southern Africa XVII:2 34: The current term for a steady girlfriend among University of Cape Town students is a ‘handbrake’. Flirtation is termed ‘doing spadework’ [DSAE].|
to speak aggressively or vehemently.
|Britain and the Dictators 233: Germany may call a spade a bloody shovel, but other nations may not even call it an agricultural implement.|
|That Dreadful School 40: Any navvy will tell you with truth that a spade is a bloody shovel.|
|in N.Y. Times 14 Feb. IV 8: The time has come to call a spade a bloody shovel. This country is in an undeclared and unexplained war in Vietnam. Our masters have a lot of long and fancy names for it [...] but it is war just the same.|
|Nation for a Continent 240: He loved yarning and drinking with friends and liked to call a spade a bloody shovel.|
|Fathers in Writing 68: As Mum put it, ‘Although he seldom swore, he’d call a spade a bloody shovel.’.|
|Birmingham Eve. Mail 7 June n.p.: He likes to call a spade a bloody shovel and worse.|
(orig. US) to the greatest extent, very much, extremely, any form of intensifier; thus you can say that in spades, you couldn’t be more right.
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 158: He is a bum in spades.‘Hold ’Em, Yale!’ in|
|I Can Get It For You Wholesale 220: Don’t worry so much about the cost. We’ll get it back in spades.|
|Little Sister 218: I’d love it [...] In spades redoubled.|
|Alcoholics (1993) 58: He’ll bore you in spades.|
|Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 207: ‘Yes, I guess she’s narcissistic.’ ‘In spades.’.|
|Great White Hope I ii: I gonna throw you at him in chunks.|
|Much Obliged, Jeeves 158: I had it again, in spades, at the present juncture.|
|Beyond Valley of the Dolls [film script] I’ll get you back in spades.|
|Brown’s Requiem 191: ‘When you go to the cops, will you tell them I helped you?’ ‘In spades, Augie.’.|
|A Little Class on Murder 107: Honey, you can say that in spades.|
|(con. early 1950s) L.A. Confidential 23: ‘Pictures?’ ‘In spades.’.|
|White Shoes 240: He’d certainly got his square-up with Jasper and the boys, in spades.|
|Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 189: Method? [...] Opportunity? In spades.|
|Truth 358: Robbers [i.e. the police armed robbery squad] had to be special men, they needed hard shells, they had to give it back in spades.|