false colors

(redirected from sailing under false colors)

false colors

Pretense, misrepresentation, or hypocrisy; deceptive statements or actions. For example, She's sailing under false colors-she claims to be a Republican, but endorses Democratic legislation . This term alludes to the practice of pirate ships sailing under false colors-that is, running a particular flag specifically to lure another vessel close enough to be captured. [Late 1600s]
See also: color, false
References in classic literature ?
Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind.
At the other end of the spectrum, sailing under false colors of "freedom of speech," is the entertainment industry, which is driven by the profit motive and the rising threshold of boredom of its audience to load its channels with correspondingly progressive increases in violent and erotic programming.