false colors

Idioms & Phrases

false colors

Pretense, misrepresentation, or hypocrisy; deceptive statements or actions. For example, She's sailing under false colorsshe claims to be a Republican, but endorses Democratic legislation. This term alludes to the practice of pirate ships sailing under false colorsthat is, running a particular flag specifically to lure another vessel close enough to be captured. [Late 1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: false alarm
Next Definition: false start
Words Near: false colors
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for false colors
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing false colors
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature