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Basically; ultimately. I know John can be annoying, but at bottom he's a good person.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fundamentally, basically; also, in reality. For example, He may speak somewhat bluntly, but at bottom he's always honest. Charles Dickens used this idiom in Nicholas Nickleby (1838): "He's a good pony at bottom." [Early 1700s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
at ˈbottombasically; in reality: She seems rather unfriendly, but at bottom I think she’s quite kind.
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American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.