from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The amount held by (or moved by) a spade (shovel) at once. A shovelful.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. As much as a spade will hold or lift.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. As much as can be taken up with a spade.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the quantity a shovel can hold


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • There's seems little point in working our way through the whole sorry mess of manure, shovelling it out spadeful by spadeful, not when the whole construction is built on poisoned earth over a cess-pit of raw sewage.

    On Sophistry and Subjectivity

  • This is a good thing for Democrats, because it means putting the last spadeful of dirt on the carcass of President Obama's hopes of bipartisanship in Washington during his term of office.

    Chris Weigant: More Biden, Please

  • Some may decry the outcome as shoveling the last spadeful of dirt on the grave of objective and unbiased political reporting, but in reality it will just return American to an earlier time in our history.

    Chris Weigant: New Tea Party Media Strategy: No Media

  • Each spadeful was nearly weightless, but the number of spadefuls was nearly endless.

    The Clique

  • He walked almost casually, carrying the spear low, braced in both hands, as though about to lift a spadeful of dirt.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • I spied motion downhill among trees and boulders, one, three, six, many shapes that glimmered when they moved, like pale grubs in a spadeful of dirt.


  • Better learn to turn a spadeful of dirt, and do it soon, 'cause we're not going to feed you while you're holed up in your lead-lined bunkers waiting for the nukes that never come.

    An oath to the Constitution, not the president

  • Apart from Jane Austen — there EV struck the mother lode at his first spadeful of earth, and Austen is trumpeted by the “singular use is OK” crowd — no authors are shown to have employed this usage with anything like regularity.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Spurious Grammatical “Rules” of Every Sort Are My Abhorrence

  • And the Bush administration played into their hands by serving up caricatures by the spadeful.

    2009 June 08 « Sigmund, Carl and Alfred

  • There are other grants which I have not included in either of the foregoing tables where not a spadeful of earth has been dug in the construction of a railroad, yet the lands are withdrawn from settlement and claimed by the corporation, although the grants were long since forfeited.

    Black and White


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