"spit and image"/"spitting image"(Phrase Origins)
These phrases mean "exact likeness". "Spitting image" is first recorded in 1901; "spit and image" is a bit older (from the late 19th century), which seems to refute the explanation "splitting image" (two split halves of the same tree). An older British expression is "He's the very spit of his father", which Eric Partridge, in his _Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English_ (Routledge, 1950) traces back to 1400: "He's ... as like these as th'hads't spit him." Other languages have similar expressions; e.g., the French say _C'est son pere tout crache_ = "He is his father completely spat." Alternative explanations are "so alike that even the spit out of their mouths is the same"; "speaking likeness"; and a corruption of "spirit".
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