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(one's) (true) stripes

One's true or honest beliefs, thoughts, convictions, biases, desires, etc.; one's real personality, character, or disposition. (A less common variant of "one's (true) colors.") Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true stripes once he realized that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. You will really see your friends' true stripes when you call upon them in a time of crisis.
See also: stripe

a change in (one's) stripes

A radical, fundamental shift in one's opinion, ideology, or allegiance, especially in relation to politics. Derived from the phrase "a tiger cannot change its stripes," meaning that people are incapable of changing their essential nature. The former president has shown a change in stripes regarding social welfare since leaving office.
See also: change, stripe

change (one's) spots

To radically or fundamentally shift one's opinion, ideology, or allegiance, especially in relation to politics. Derived from the phrase "a leopard cannot change its spots," meaning that people are incapable of changing their essential nature. The former president seems to have changed her spots regarding social welfare since leaving office. You're never going to convince Tom about this—he's too stubborn. A guy like that can't change his spots.
See also: change, spot

change (one's) stripes

To radically or fundamentally shift one's opinion, ideology, or allegiance, especially in relation to politics. Often used in negative constructions. Derived from the phrase "a tiger cannot change its stripes," meaning that people are incapable of changing their essential nature. The former governor has changed her stripes regarding social welfare since leaving office. You're never going to convince Tom about this. A guy so set in his beliefs like Tom can't change his stripes.
See also: change, stripe

earn (one's) spurs

To prove one's skill in a particular area. Once you've watched the triplets for an entire day, then you'll have earned your spurs as a caretaker, as far as I'm concerned. After getting my bachelor's degree, I earned my spurs as a teacher by working in underfunded urban schools.
See also: earn, spur

earn (one's) stripes

To prove that one is deserving of a particular position or designation. I told the recruiter that I earned my stripes as a teacher before moving into administration.
See also: earn, stripe

of the same stripe

Of the same or similar kind; in the same vein; along the same lines. You'll often get arguments of the same stripe from undergraduate students full of undigested learning, who think they know how to fix all of society's ills. He identifies himself as a socialist, but not of the same stripe as the Marxists and Leninists of the mid-20th century.
See also: of, same, stripe

reveal (one's) (true) stripes

To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. (A less common variant of "show one's (true) colors.") Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he revealed his true stripes once he realized that he wouldn't get any special commission for his efforts. It's only in times of crisis that your friends will really reveal their stripes.
See also: reveal, stripe

show (one's) (true) stripes

To reveal what one really believes, thinks, or wants; to act in accordance with one's real personality, character, or disposition. (A less common variant of "show one's (true) colors/colours.") Dave said all along that he only wanted this deal because it was in the company's best interest, but he showed his true stripes once he realized 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 stripes.
See also: show, stripe

the Stars and Stripes

The American flag. You can always count on Dad to hang up the ol' Stars and Stripes for the Fourth of July.
See also: and, Star, Stripe
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

change one's stripes

See also: change, stripe

earn one's stripes

Gain a position through hard work and accumulated experience. For example, She'd earned her stripes by serving for years as the governor's secretary and personal aide . This expression alludes to a military promotion or award, indicated by strips of chevron or braid added to the recipient's uniform and known as stripes since the early 1800s.
See also: earn, stripe

leopard cannot change its spots, a

Also, the tiger cannot change its stripes. One can't change one's essential nature. For example, He's a conservative, no matter what he says; the leopard cannot change its spots. These metaphoric expressions both originated in an ancient Greek proverb that appears in the Bible (Jeremiah 13:23): "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" It was first recorded in English in 1546.
See also: cannot, change, leopard
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.

earn your stripes

If you earn your stripes, you gain enough experience to deserve a particular job or position. Mr. Thaddeus earned his stripes playing for such foreign bands as the London-based Pitiful Souls and Singapore's X-Periments. He has worked hard to earn his stripes as a skilled debater in the House of Assembly.
See also: earn, stripe
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

change one's stripes/spots, cannot

One cannot alter one’s essential nature. The cliché refers to the tiger, who obviously cannot change its stripes. This in turn is an alteration of a much older saying, an ancient Greek proverb also found in the Bible (“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” Jeremiah 13:23). The phrase appears in numerous places until the end of the seventeenth century.
See also: cannot, change, stripe
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Stars and Stripes reporters are not permitted to cover issues on bases they work on.
"If you have the figure and the attitude to go all-out on this trend, black stripes against vivid colours are a must, as are rainbow stripes in primary colours," Payton suggests.
REBEL STRIPER Break the rules, get creative and clash together mismatched colours and prints for a contemporary take on stripes. A tired floral dress can look instantly on-trend accessorised with a striped blazer.
Solid bags, skinny jeans and bright coloured heels or flat shoes can offset bold and vibrant stripes.
Another trick used to quantify PES noise is to intentionally write a servo pattern with all servo stripes oriented parallel to one another.
Our troops also deserve to fight under the Stars & Stripes. Yes, our troops have flown our flag to demoralize our enemies and to hearten our allies.
Its Maracana jersey line comes in 100% polyester 3-D diamond jacquard and vertical stripes on a diamond pattern, and its Santiago jerseys come in solid colors and white collars.
The stripes are not the only unique feature of the zebra.
shooting Stripes. "He was very worried about the character he was playing, and questioned what he was doing," recalls George Bloomfield.
CRACK THE BARCODE AT MISSONI, the house's signature zig-zag took a back seat for spring, in favour of multi-coloured barcode stripes. Thin, irregular lines also cropped up at Prada, on boxy jackets and dresses.
It's all a visual trick, of course, but vertical stripes can make ceilings appear taller, creating the illusion of height, while horizontal stripes elongate a space, making rooms feel wwider.
1 Referring to Stitch & Flip in Quilt Basics, Mitering Stripes, and to Diagram I-A, join navy stripe A and navy stripe B as shown to make unit 1.
When the reels were later sheeted and printed In Turkey, the stripes were in register with the print.
I frequently use stripes as borders because I love the motion that they add to a quilt.