Inside the etymonline staff lounge. This is the fun part, if you have a job here.

A steeplechase can erupt at any moment.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

It has long been my understanding that “spitting image” come from “spirit and image” by way of a contraction “spi’it ‘n’ image”.

It does seem nice - but nobody has found “spirit and image” written out anywhere from a time before “spitting image” appeared. This most likely means that “spirit and image” is a random guess created in modern times.


Brit here. It is not uncommon in parts of the UK to say “he’s the [absolute] spit of X”.

This opens a new branch of … something. I wonder if it’s possible to antedate accidental predictions of DNA identification technology any further. :upside_down_face:

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“as like another as if he had been spit out of his mouth.”
I can’t help but think of the Meat Loaf song line: " You took the words out of my mouth, it must have been when I was kissing you."