show (one's) (true) colours

(redirected from showed their true colours)

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.
See also: colour, show

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.
See also: colour, show, true

show your (true) colours

reveal your real character or intentions, especially when these are disreputable or dishonourable.
See also: colour, show
References in periodicals archive ?
ROAD safety charity Brake at last showed their true colours in Friday's Examiner motoring section when they suggested: ".
And UKIP's ragtag gang of MEPs showed their true colours this week by voting against a new Brussels body to pursue aggressive tax avoiders.
BUCKS YAHOO and Magna Buddy suffered shock reversals in the first round, but then showed their true colours in their respective semi-finals.
THE Conservatives showed their true colours during this year's party conference and the devastation that awaits the working folk of Britain should awaken our memories of the Thatcher years.
BAYERN MUNICH showed their true colours to thrash Aberdeen and reach the last 16 of the Uefa Cup last night.
Youngsters showed their true colours yesterday when they wore Welsh tartan for St David's Day celebrations.
It takes patience and discipline, they showed their true colours.
MINISTERS showed their true colours by springing pension demands on millions of doctors, nurses and other public sector workers yesterday.
The pair finally showed their true colours after playing contrite and remorseful defendants when it suited their purpose.
But yesterday, the Taliban cowards showed their true colours.
TOBACCO giant Philip Morris showed their true colours yesterday.