Posted by Lewis on January 06, 2005
In Reply to: Spit and image posted by Smokey Stover on January 06, 2005
: : Over the years I've heard many people use the phrase "spitting image" to mean you greatly resembled someone. I think the original phrase may have been somewhat different. My Grandfather used to say that I was the "spirit and image" of my deceased Grandmother, which I think makes much more sense.
: Enter your phrase, or some version of it, in the box labeled "Search this site", and you will find several explanations. The OED regards "Spit and image" as the original form, and says of spit, "3. the very spit of, the exact image, likeness, or counterpart of (a person, etc.)." Under "spit and image" it indicates that "spitten image," "spitting image," and "splitting image" are later forms. It cites the above use of "spit" from 1825 and later. SS
Guy I went to school with designed the puppets for the TV satire of that name - having worked for "Mad" magazine straight out of school. Used to play drums in a friend's band too. Right clever dick, but didn't rub it in - if you're reading this, Dave Stoten!
'spit' has the use of an outlying piece of land or a naval spar (e.g. bow-spit) - I wonder if the spit of likeness came along the lines of 'a chip off the block'.