recognize (someone or something) for what (someone or something) is(redirected from recognized them for what they are)
recognize (someone or something) for what (someone or something) is
To be able to perceive and understand the true nature of someone or something. She seems committed to thinking of him as some misunderstood outcast, instead of just recognizing him for what he is—a petty thug. You need to recognize the situation for what it is and start putting things in place to deal with it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
recognize something for what it isand recognize one for what one is
to see and understand exactly what someone or something is or represents. The disease represented a serious threat to all peoples, and Dr. Smith recognized it for what it was. I recognize you for what you are, you scoundrel!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.