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Related to colour: colour TV, Colour codes
give color to (something)
1. To add flourish or provide an interesting accompaniment to something. Idioms and metaphors are just some of the things that give color to language.
2. To embellish or exaggerate something so as to give it the appearance of truth, credibility, or plausibility. The defendant even bought used tickets to give color to his story of being at the opera when the murder took place.
come through (something) with flying colors
To win, achieve, or accomplish something exceptionally well or very successfully. Said especially of a test, examination, or training of some kind. Primarily heard in US. Samantha was rather nervous taking her final exam, but she came through with flying colors! Your brother has come through his apprenticeship with flying colors. He'll be a master builder in no time!
pass (something) with flying colours
To win, achieve, or accomplish something exceptionally well or very successfully. Said especially of a test, examination, or training of some kind. Primarily heard in UK. Samantha was rather nervous taking her final exam, but she passed with flying colours! Your brother passed his apprenticeship with flying colours. He'll be a master builder in no time!
(one's) true colours
One's true or honest beliefs, thoughts, convictions, biases, desires, etc.; one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in UK. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true colours once he realised that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. You will really see your friends' true colours when you call upon them in a time of crisis.
reveal (one's) (true) colors
To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in US. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he revealed his true colors once he realized that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really reveal their colors.
show (one's) (true) colours
To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in UK. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true colours once he realised that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really show their colours.
under false colors
Using or under the guise of false pretenses, so as to deceive someone or to hide one's true nature or intentions. (An allusion to the identifying flags of a ship, and so usually used in the phrase "sail under false colors.") Primarily heard in US. Tim thought he could just put on fancy clothes and rub elbows with the upper crust that Janet's family socialized with, but everyone at the party knew he was sailing under false colors. I don't want to be accused of flying under false colors, so let me say straight away that I'm being paid to give a review of this product today.
To be rude or vulgar; to be likely to offend others, especially due to being sexually explicit or suggestive. A: "What did you think of the awards ceremony last night?" B: "The presenter's jokes were a bit too off-color for my taste."
nail (one's) colours to the mast
To refuse to cease or surrender. Because lowering a ship's flag was a customary indication of surrender, this nautical phrase emphasizes the resolve of a ship's crew. We will nail our colours to the mast and fight on—they will never capture us! We're going to have a tough time beating this team now that they are playing with such determination. I fear they've nailed their colours to the mast.
Pertaining to sex in a lewd or offensive manner. Primarily heard in UK, Canada. Every Christmas, my uncle has a bit too much to drink and starts telling off-colour jokes in front of the kids and grandparents.
show (someone) in (their) true colours
To reveal what someone really believes, thinks, or wants, or the true nature or strength of their character. (Usually, but not always, used in reference to someone with bad or unpleasant beliefs, desires, or characteristics.) The undercover journalist secretly filmed her meeting with the CEO, showing him in his true colours as a money-hungry snake with no regard for the law. The defendant's attorneys brought in a multitude of character witnesses to show her in her true colours: a kind, compassionate woman with no motive for revenge.
see the color of (one's) money
To view the money that one will pay with in order to verify that they have it. Sure I trust you—but I still want to see the color of your money so I know you're good for it.
sail under false colors
1. Lit. to sail with false identification. (Pirates often sailed under the national flag of the ship they planned on attacking.) The ship, sailing under false colors, suddenly started to pursue our ship. Bluebeard the pirate was known for sailing under false colors.
2. Fig. to function deceptively. You are not who you seem to be. You are sailing under false colors. Tom was sailing under false colors and finally got found out.
color of someone's money, see the
Prove that you can pay, as in Before we talk any more about this car, let's see the color of your money. This term probably originated in gambling or betting. [Slang; early 1900s]
sail under false colors
see under false colors.
with flying colors, pass with
Also, come through with flying colors. Win, succeed, as in She came through the bar exam with flying colors. This expression alludes to a victorious ship sailing with its flags high. [Late 1600s]
the colour of someone's money
If you want to see the colour of someone's money, you want proof that they can pay for something, usually because you doubt that they are able to. Note: `Colour' is spelled `color' in American English. Then he ordered another drink and I said to him: `Let's see the colour of your money.' I thought he wouldn't have any. He made a mental note never to enter into conversation with a customer until he'd at least seen the colour of his money.
be sailing under false coloursBRITISH
If someone or something is sailing under false colours, they are deliberately deceiving people. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. This report sails under false colours. It claims to be a fair and rigorous examination of the issue, but it is no such thing. Note: When pirate ships spotted a treasure ship, they often took down their own flag and raised the flag of a friendly nation, in order to get close enough to the ship to attack it.
nail your colours to the mastBRITISH, JOURNALISM
1. If you nail your colours to the mast, you state your opinions or beliefs about something clearly and publicly. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Let me nail my colours to the mast straightaway. I both like and admire him immensely.
2. If you nail your colours to the mast, you say clearly and publicly that you support a particular person, idea, or theory. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. In the Thatcher years, the young MP nailed his colours to Mrs T's mast more firmly than most. This was the moment he nailed his colours to the mast of Social Security reform. Note: Battleships used to lower their colours to show that they were surrendering. Sometimes the colours were nailed to the mast as a sign of determination to fight to the end.
show your true colours
COMMON If someone shows their true colours, they show their real character, often when this is bad. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Someone I had trusted now showed her true colours. Note: Verbs such as declare and reveal are sometimes used instead of show. Three months into the relationship, Rogers began to reveal his true colours. Note: You can also see someone in their true colours. The children started seeing him in his true colours for the first. Note: Once a pirate ship had got close to a treasure ship by `sailing under false colours', it then revealed its true identity by raising its own flag.
with flying colours
COMMON If you achieve something, such as passing an examination, with flying colours, you achieve it easily and are very successful. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. She passed the entrance exam with flying colors. Note: The image here is of a victorious battleship sailing back into port with its national flag flying.