to tell (you) the truth

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Also found in: Acronyms.

to tell (you) the truth

I must admit; to be honest; in actuality. To tell you the truth, even though I majored in English literature, I've never read anything by Hemingway! I know I said I wanted to go out to the bars tonight, but to tell the truth, I'd rather just stay home and watch a movie.
See also: tell, truth

to tell (you) the ˈtruth

used when admitting something: To tell the truth, I fell asleep in the middle of her talk.
See also: tell, truth
References in classic literature ?
Of course, I don't expect that he would unbosom himself to any one, but, to tell you the truth, as we are situated now, the faintest hint as regards his inclinations, or lack of inclinations, towards certain things would be of immense service.
"Despite everything that happened with Lindsay I would be horrified if she went to jail and to tell you the truth I just feel sorry for her because sadly she has some real issues to deal with.
To tell you the truth, the original fairy tale of "The Goose Girl" is somewhat vague in my memory, but this retelling holds its own as a story in its own right.
"But to tell you the truth, I didn't like her." WHO'S THE PLAYER NOW?
When a reporter asked General Colin Powell if he knew how many Iraqis died in that war, he replied: "That is really not a matter I am terribly interested in." A high Pentagon official told The Boston Globe, "To tell you the truth, we're not really focusing on this question."
So if you can't trust the news to tell you the truth and you can't trust the FDA to keep food safe, what do you do?
To tell you the truth, like many people who left the Film Board, it stays within you.
To tell you the truth, one is enough, at least for me."
Very few of them had good legs, to tell you the truth."
"I am surprised he won, to tell you the truth, as the horse had a big setback and then when we tried to get him back, the whole country got flooded," said O'Brien.
During an extensive interview at his rather messy Fox News office in New York--"It's always like this," he explains--O'Reilly talks about almost every gay issue under the sun, from the gay pride parade ("It's offensive, it's foolish, it's counterproductive, and it backlashes against you") to gay adoption (he supports it and did a terrific interview with Rosie O'Donnell, but adds, "I'm not looking out for the gays here; I've got to tell you the truth. I'm looking out for the kids").