[uh-buhv-bawrd, -bohrd]
adverb, adjective
in open sight; without tricks, concealment, or disguise: Their actions are open and aboveboard.

1610–20; above + board; so called from the requirement of keeping the hands above the table or board in order to discourage possible cheating at cards

honest, straightforward.

devious, underhanded, sneaky.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

1610s, from above and board (1). "A figurative expression borrowed from gamesters, who, when they put their hands under the table, are changing their cards." [Johnson]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see open and aboveboard.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
It's an honest trick, it's an open and aboveboard trick, but it is a trick
But while there are certainly aboveboard agents and applications, other
  recruiters engage in fraudulent behavior.
Which is not to say that every dealer runs an aboveboard business.
The consultants say their work is aboveboard and beneficial to the state, but
  they decline to identify their clients.
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