Definition of show one's true colors in US English:

show one's true colors


  • Reveal one's real character or intentions, especially when these are disreputable or dishonorable.

    • ‘Polly starts out as an innocent young woman swept away by the romance of a wedding, but soon shows her true colours by taking over her husband's old firm of gangsters as soon as he is out of the way.’
    • ‘Here is the current President of the United States showing his true colours.’
    • ‘It was as if he was showing his true colours to my mum.’
    • ‘Unexpectedly friendly at first, he soon starts to show his true colours as a loud-mouthed bully with psychopathic tendencies.’
    • ‘However Burren showed their true colours and managed to beat Mayobridge by six points.’
    • ‘Often, they pretend to be friendly at first before showing their true colours by playing a malicious trick.’
    • ‘For me, he showed his true colours when he refused to step down from the Labour Party.’
    • ‘In some ways it's a real blessing that Bill showed his true colors relatively early in our relationship.’
    • ‘When he tried to overthrow the democratically elected government in 1992, he showed his true colors.’
    • ‘There is effective suspense, sure, but the villains are clearly defined, and any ambiguous characters immediately show their true colors.’