false colors

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false colors

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.
See also: color, false

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

sail under false colors, to

To behave deceptively; to misrepresent oneself deliberately. The term comes from maritime piracy, rampant from ancient times until about 1825 in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters and still existing in parts of the Pacific. In order to deceive their prey, pirates would run a “friendly flag”—that is, “false colors”—to lure their victims close enough so that they could easily be captured. The term began to be used figuratively in the late seventeenth century. Robert Louis Stevenson used it in St. Ives (1897): “I had so much wisdom as to sail under false colours in this foolish jaunt of mine.”
See also: false, sail
References in periodicals archive ?
He can't be named but got himself smuggled here in 2003, claimed asylum under false colours, was told to return to Africa.
It has a 16.3 megapixel APSA[degrees]C size XA[degrees]Trans CMOS II sensor with original colour array to control moire and false colours without an optiA[degrees] cal low path filter.
Its unique colour filter array can effectively minimise moire and false colours without the need for an optical low pass filter.
The leader of the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature Lars Haltbrekke, on the contrary, considers that the oil industry is sailing under false colours when launching the initiative for gathering more knowledge.
The latter hid themselves away in local and national politics under false colours to spread their doctrines, which in reality restrict civil liberties.
I fear Mr Blair has been sailing under false colours for too long to change his policies in 2004.
But if Hinckley's Ex-Servicemen's Club's investigation reveals Mr Day is marching under false colours, he'll face a pounds 1,000 fine.