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diamond cut diamond

A situation in which two equally cunning or devious people spar or interact. Primarily heard in UK. It's always diamond cut diamond when those two schemers get together.
See also: cut, diamond

diamond in the rough

A person or thing with exceptional qualities or characteristics that cannot be seen from the surface. The new employee initially seemed to lack confidence, but after seeing how hard he works, we realized that he's a diamond in the rough and is really a great asset to the company.
See also: diamond, rough

rough diamond

Someone or something that is unrefined but has many exceptional aspects or underlying potential. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The young actor was a rough diamond. With some training, she'd become a superstar.
See also: diamond, rough
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

diamond in the rough

Fig. a person who has good qualities despite a rough exterior; a person with great potential. Sam looks a little scruffy, but he's a diamond in the rough. He's a diamond in the rough—a little hard to take at times, but very smart and helpful.
See also: diamond, rough
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

diamond in the rough

Also, a rough diamond. A person of exceptional character or potential but lacking polish and refinement. For example, Jack is intelligent and trustworthy but lacks manners-he's a diamond in the rough. [Early 1600s]
See also: diamond, rough
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.

a rough diamond

mainly BRITISH or

a diamond in the rough

AMERICAN
1. If you call someone, especially a man a rough diamond, you admire their good qualities, even though they are not very polite or well-educated. Note: A rough diamond is a diamond that has not yet been cut and polished. Marden was the rough diamond of the three, feared for his ruthlessness but respected for his First World War Military Cross. I liked Neil Murphy, who is somewhat of a diamond in the rough.
2. If you call someone or something a rough diamond, you mean that they have talent or good qualities which are hidden or not well developed and could be developed more. Note: A rough diamond is a diamond that has not yet been cut and polished. British first novels are more likely to be rough diamonds, with flashes of inspiration in an imperfect whole. When I heard this lady sing, I ran to the theater, and I said, `Chick, I found myself a diamond in the rough.'
See also: diamond, rough
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

diamond cut diamond

a situation in which a sharp-witted or cunning person meets their match. British
1863 Charles Reade Hard Cash He felt…sure his employer would outwit him if he could; and resolved it should be diamond cut diamond.
See also: cut, diamond

a rough diamond

a person who has genuinely fine qualities but uncouth manners. informal
Literally, a rough diamond is a diamond before it has been cut and polished. A North American variant of this expression is a diamond in the rough .
See also: diamond, rough
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a ˌrough ˈdiamond

(British English) (American English a ˌdiamond in the ˈrough) a person who has many good qualities even though they do not seem to be very polite, educated, etc: Don’t be put off by your first impressions — he’s something of a rough diamond.
A rough diamond is a diamond that has not yet been cut or polished.
See also: diamond, rough
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

diamond in the rough

n. a person who is wonderful despite a rough exterior; a person with great potential. He’s a diamond in the rough—a little hard to take at times, but okay mostly.
See also: diamond, rough
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

diamond in the rough

One having exceptionally good qualities or the potential for greatness but lacking polish and refinement.
See also: diamond, rough
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.

diamond in the rough, a

An individual of intrinsic merit but uncultivated manners. The simile comes from mining, where the uncut, unpolished diamond resembles a hunk of worthless rock but may, after processing, be both beautiful and very valuable. John Fletcher’s 1624 play, AWife for a Month, has it, “She is very honest, and will be hard to cut as a rough diamond” (4.2).
See also: diamond
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

diamond in the rough

A basically admirable person who is full of potential, but lacks the social graces. The image is that of a raw gemstone that, once cut and polished, will shine.
See also: diamond, rough
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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