show (one's) (true) colours

(redirected from show their colours)

show (one's) (true) colours

To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. Primarily heard in UK. Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true colours once he realised that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really show their colours.
See also: colour, show

show your true colours

COMMON If someone shows their true colours, they show their real character, often when this is bad. Note: A ship's colours are its national flag. Someone I had trusted now showed her true colours. Note: Verbs such as declare and reveal are sometimes used instead of show. Three months into the relationship, Rogers began to reveal his true colours. Note: You can also see someone in their true colours. The children started seeing him in his true colours for the first. Note: Once a pirate ship had got close to a treasure ship by `sailing under false colours', it then revealed its true identity by raising its own flag.
See also: colour, show, true

show your (true) colours

reveal your real character or intentions, especially when these are disreputable or dishonourable.
See also: colour, show
References in periodicals archive ?
No doubt they'll show their colours when the flag drops today.
Dachshunds Madison Ellie and Olie show their colours.
Left, Argentina fans offer some musical encouragement before their squad faces the Ivory Coast' above, a rickshaw puller carries supporters of Brazil soccer team in Calcutta, India' Above left, Sweden fans show their colours before Trinidad & Tobago match' above right, a Trinidad & Tobago supporter goes for glamour' Clockwise from far left, A young German fan celebrates the 4-2 victory over Costa Rica' a Mexico supporter demonstrates his allegiance before the game against Iran' the smiles on the faces of these US fans will soon turn to frowns as the team loses 3-0 to the Czech Republic' A dejected Sweden fan after a disappointing goalless draw against Trinidad & Tobago
Left, Terriers fans show their colours before the play-off final against Bristol Rovers in May, 1995.
The Liverpool FC fanatics wanted to show their colours with pride after their derby-day wedding.
SEA OF SKY BLUE: City fans show their colours earlier this season
The Glasgow giants have teamed up with Scottish Brewers to produce the new range of bottled bevvy that will let fans show their colours in their pints as well as in the stands.
GLAMORGAN cricketers took time out from their four-day County Championship match against Northamptonshire to show their colours for a Welsh cancer charity.