Dating proverbs sayings
According to rumours circulating in about 62BC, it seems that her name was linked with Publius Clodius, a notorious dissolute man of the time.
Erasmus' version stuck and to call a spade a spade has been in popular use ever since.
A summons to cancel all wagers in certain circumstances, deriving from the racetrack and the betting shop; for instance, a bookmaker may call off all bets if he suspects that a race or other contest has been rigged.
In a widening of its meaning, the phrase is used to mean rejecting a complicated or disadvantageous issue.
In American black slang of the 1940s, however, it meant to die - indeed, the most final way of calling off all bets.
It comes from the slightly older verbs asperse and asperge, both of which can be traced back to the Latin aspergere, to sprinkle.