spitting image

noun Informal.
spit1 ( def 13 ).

Origin:
1925–30; from the phrase spit and image (see spit1) by confusion of spit and with spittin'; compare earlier the very spit of the exact likeness of

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World English Dictionary
spitting image
 
n
informal spit, Also called: spit and image a person who bears a strong physical resemblance to another, esp to a relative
 
[C19: modification of spit and image, from spit1 (as in the phrase the very spit of, the exact likeness of (someone))]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

spitting image

A precise resemblance, especially in closely related persons. For example, Dirk is the spitting image of his grandfather. This idiom alludes to the earlier use of the noun spit for "likeness," in turn probably derived from an old proverb, "as like as one as if he had been spit out of his mouth" (c. 1400). The current idiom dates from about 1900.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The map unexpectedly revealed a pattern that's the spitting image of the video arcade icon.
If his color were correct he could be the spitting image of this dog.
My sons didn't care that it wasn't a spitting image.
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