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'spitting image' revisited

Posted by Jill Barker (nee Newman) on October 27, 2002

I was browsing the archives and spotted a discussion of 'spitting image'. I have also heard the phrase 'spit and image'; in Australia we speak of a person as being the 'dead spit' of someone else - meaning they look very similar. Could 'spitting image' or 'split image' be a corruption of 'spit and image'? (When one digs a trench in the ground one takes out a line of identical 'spits' ie spade-lengths of earth.)

I also rather like Roy Hattersley's description of himself as 'the eponymous spitting image' in reference to the satirical TV show.
JillB