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8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary

show one's true colors

Reveal oneself as one really is, as in We always thought he was completely honest, but he showed his true colors when he tried to use a stolen credit card. This expression alludes to the antonym, false colors, that is, sailing under a flag other than one's own. [ Late 1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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