spitting image (2). Today: And *"splitting image." This odd variant, another chip off the old "spit and image" block, usually appears as a pun. But occasionally (and sadly), a sober-sided writer will err with it — e.g.: o "He's the splitting image [read 'spitting image'] of his brother, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' cornerback Ronde Barber. And why not? Ronde and Tiki Barber, the Giants' leading rusher, are identical twins." Chris Harry, "Giants," Orlando Sentinel, 23 Jan. 2001, at D4. o "But these pumped-up fans . . . were already bubbly, chatty and, in many cases, the splitting images [read 'spitting image'] of the star singers." Lisa Jones Townsel, "Star-Inspired Duds," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12 July 2003, Lifestyle §, at 26. o "The 2004 Titan full-size pickup has brought along its older brother for the ride: A revamped 2005 Nissan Frontier is the splitting image [read 'spitting image'] of the company's Mississippi-made truck." Josee Valcourt, "Redesigns Lead the Way," Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.), 6 Jan. 2004, at C1. Language-Change Index — *"splitting image" for "spitting image": Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "The perception of change in old and trusted meanings is always likely to irk those of us who think we have the beauty and efficiency of the language at heart." Walter Nash, An Uncommon Tongue: The Uses and Resources of English 13 (1992).