Definition of true in US English:



  • 1In accordance with fact or reality.

    ‘a true story’
    ‘of course it's true’
    ‘that is not true of the people I am talking about’
    • ‘These last two materials account for a large proportion of our household waste, and I'm sure this is true of many others.’
    • ‘This was also true of the other groups attempting to build revolutionary organisations.’
    • ‘Perhaps this isn't true of most scientists today, but it's been true of very many.’
    • ‘I'm sure there is room for improvement but isn't that true of any job?’
    • ‘What is true of the theatre is also true of the short story.’
    • ‘This may not be true of every single marriage, and indeed undoubtedly it is untrue in some cases.’
    • ‘I now know that some of his Cabinet colleagues know the facts and the true story behind this issue.’
    • ‘While this may be true of the child's blanket, we know that this is not the case with stuffed animals.’
    • ‘This is also true of the types of materials prioritised for purchase.’
    • ‘We don't want a list of random facts that just happen to be true of all the languages that are spoken now.’
    • ‘This is especially true of any organization that must raise money to support itself.’
    • ‘This is likely to be especially true of drugs that are highly innovative and reach beyond current classes of medication.’
    • ‘This is surely true of Ann and Joan, who greeted all with their beautiful smiles and you immediately felt at peace.’
    • ‘It wasn't true of course, but it made an amusing story to tell over the campfires.’
    • ‘Exactly, and that is true of a lot of the principal athletes involved in this.’
    • ‘If this is true of power generation, it is doubly true of agriculture.’
    • ‘This is most true of the opening stories in the collection, but also occurs at intervals throughout the book.’
    • ‘Incidentally, I've found that this isn't true of coffee, or other drinks.’
    • ‘In fact it is not quite true of such stuff that it lacks a tradition.’
    • ‘That is true of all political parties, but none more so than the one which was founded on principles of egality and solidarity.’
    accurate, correct, verifiable, faithful, literal, veracious
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    1. 1.1attributive Rightly or strictly so called; genuine.
      ‘people are still willing to pay for true craftsmanship’
      ‘we believe in true love’
      • ‘The fanatics turn to extremism, which has really no basis in the true religion at all.’
      • ‘In true rock tradition, the band split the crowd in half for a good old-fashioned singalong.’
      • ‘I consider that the Family Court does not have true and genuine evidence to support their decision.’
      • ‘I do not think true religion can be irrational, but it certainly can be more than rational.’
      • ‘In the blistering heat, and in true family tradition, I was dressed in corduroys and a heavy knitted sweater.’
      • ‘What starts as a physical pilgrimage turns accidentally into an enquiry into the meaning of true religion.’
      • ‘He often acted the ham, but his true self came through at times like this, too.’
      • ‘Every effort has been made to maintain the true tradition of golf yet also embrace the best of modern practices.’
      • ‘This was the search for the genuine goal and true essence or martial arts on which he spent most of his time.’
      • ‘This is O2's way of making sure that the party is attended strictly by true fans that are willing to make the effort and text in.’
      • ‘Australia asked the master of the Norwegian ship Tampa to assist, and in true Viking tradition, he did.’
      • ‘In true darts tradition, Ian gets his preparation in by sinking down a few pints to settle the nerves.’
      • ‘The Buddha discovered that the genuine, true thing we keep looking for isn't there at all.’
      • ‘A true patriot moved by genuine criticism would feel pain and the urge to set things right.’
      • ‘In true wedding tradition the happy couple were fêted with confetti as they left the church after taking their vows.’
      • ‘I still feel people, with a true passion and genuine interest, are willing to accept a guru and learn from them.’
      • ‘A person who comes to your rescue when the chips are down is a true and genuine friend.’
      • ‘The message of the film is that there is a difference between true faith and fundamentalism.’
      • ‘Are there any other true, genuine, authentic Kabbalah teachers I can recommend?’
      • ‘Which of these could be allowed to lay claim to being the true representative of that religion?’
      genuine, authentic, real, actual, proper, veritable
      rightful, legitimate, legal, lawful, authorized, recognized, valid
      sincere, genuine, real, unfeigned, unpretended, unaffected, heartfelt, from the heart
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    2. 1.2attributive Real or actual.
      ‘he has guessed my true intentions’
      • ‘Of course, everyone wearing masks that hid their true intentions didn't help much.’
      • ‘A real giveaway to the true nature of comedians is the complex mixture of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine they need to perform.’
      • ‘Just when my one true dream became real, it suddenly turns out to be my worst nightmare.’
      • ‘He had reached her twice now, but had been unable to explain to her his true fate, his real status.’
      • ‘I sank deeper into my pit of shyness as I forced myself not to dwell upon her true intentions.’
      • ‘This is a true shame because the real message of the film is to go out and gather information yourself.’
      • ‘Decode the neologisms and euphemisms and you gain a rare insight into the strategists' true intentions.’
      • ‘The Real have true potential so let's hope they get the big break they deserve.’
      • ‘But this applies only where the court is left in real doubt about the true meaning.’
      • ‘Cain was furious, not only had his plan failed but his true intentions had been revealed.’
      • ‘Yet this is not an actual or true experience, because it does not recur the next day or anytime soon.’
      • ‘The true height of our real greatness is that it can't possibly be quantified.’
      • ‘The new environmentalism is marked by a passion for making a true difference in the real world.’
      • ‘Thus employer groups may be fooled by the quote provided as this may not be a true reflection of the actual cost to the member.’
      • ‘It dealt with some of the real, true issues of what this Government is really all about.’
      • ‘But one did not have to wait that long to understand the dictator's true intentions.’
      • ‘The false self is often difficult to argue with, since it has a skill in argument equal to the real or true self on which it preys.’
      • ‘Statements to the press are now the key in determining true intentions.’
      • ‘But chance brought her face to face with the true intentions of her captors.’
      • ‘The ideologies have now been unarguably stripped back to reveal the true intention of the power brokers.’
      genuine, authentic, real, actual, proper, veritable
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    3. 1.3 Said when conceding a point in argument or discussion.
      ‘true, it faced north, but you got used to that’
      • ‘I entered the house and true enough both of my parents were in the living room.’
      • ‘It was true, they conceded, that many people in Brecon went elsewhere for some of their shopping.’
      • ‘Well, that might be true for the house that Michael built, but let us be clear that there are alternatives.’
      • ‘It was true that Markhus's house was the closest of the three, and school did start in a matter of hours.’
  • 2Accurate or exact.

    ‘it was a true depiction’
    • ‘We have embarked on a journey without any true sense of where we want to go.’
    • ‘It need cost nothing at all and any couple who have made such a commitment are, in the true sense of the word, married.’
    • ‘If we want to be in a true sense secular state then, we must draw the line between the religion and government institutions.’
    • ‘Affirmative action in its true sense is not illegal and not a problem in the least.’
    • ‘This is a tragedy, in the true sense of not being about unhappiness, but in the remorseless working out of events.’
    • ‘Whichever way you choose to eat it, try to make it a regular part of your diet because it is a health food in the true sense of the term.’
    • ‘Introducing the members of his team and the cast at a function, Bala said that the film would depict love in its true sense.’
    • ‘They must convey a true sense of the danger to the protected within, but also a sense of the hope for victory.’
    • ‘Colleges and universities should form the pyramid's peak in true sense of the word.’
    • ‘The nikab, worn in black by this Moroccan woman, is a veil in the true sense of the word.’
    • ‘These days, teachers are desperate to do more creative work with their classes; to educate in the true sense of the word.’
    • ‘He told me that he thought his uncle was one of the world's last gentlemen, in the true sense of a man of gentle behaviour and manners.’
    • ‘Edith's sense of humour, her warmth and her refusal to be resentful make her a survivor in the true sense of the word.’
    • ‘He was a scholar in the true sense of the word, a self-educated man, and a man with a powerful love for literature.’
    • ‘They are not, however, true or accurate representations of either the West or the East.’
    • ‘He values dedication and long service and is a company man in the true sense of the word.’
    • ‘The world of crimes has become more sophisticated and global in the true sense of the term.’
    • ‘Their objections are, in the true sense of the word, unthinking.’
    • ‘They're working hard at trying to redress all of this and come to a true, exact count.’
    • ‘He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word, a man who never spoke ill of another human being and always allowed for human frailty.’
    accurate, true to life, faithful, telling it like it is, as it really happened, fact-based, realistic, close, lifelike, convincing
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    1. 2.1 (of a note) exactly in tune.
      • ‘The Burmese F is sharper than F natural, and yet is not the true F sharp; while B is also sharper than the European B natural.’
      • ‘On the piano this black note is an ‘enharmonic,’ which means its tone is a compromise between true C-sharp and true D-flat.’
      • ‘To Joachim, and to all his predecessors, a true C-sharp would have been lower than D-flat; a major third on the piano would be too wide.’
    2. 2.2 (of a compass bearing) measured relative to true north.
      ‘steer 085 degrees true’
      • ‘The incorrect orientation occurs when the antennas are oriented at 10 degrees true north when they should have been oriented at 0 degrees true north.’
      • ‘So, to travel 45 degrees true in that area, you'd steer 61 degrees on the compass.’
      • ‘Your right arm is now pointing to South or 180 degrees True.’
    3. 2.3 Correctly positioned, balanced, or aligned; upright or level.
      • ‘It will lead to a displacement of the user positioning solution from the true position.’
      • ‘Only then could I feel confident and proud that my aim was true, and that I was indeed a great hunter.’
      • ‘In both directions, the bubble stayed exactly in the middle so I knew that this edge of the level was true.’
      in alignment, aligned, level, balanced, at the same height, straight
      View synonyms
  • 3Loyal or faithful.

    ‘he was a true friend’
    • ‘If she wanted to do it I was here to give her moral support like a true friend should.’
    • ‘You have made an oath and a pledge that you will be a faithful, true and loyal citizen of the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘His life was dedicated to his family first and foremost and, to the many friends he had, he was a true friend.’
    • ‘He probably got married early on, fell in love, and has stayed true and faithful to her ever since.’
    • ‘A good neighbour and true friend, Sadie was happy and content in her beloved home area.’
    • ‘He was a true friend of Betty's and his death was a sad loss to her.’
    • ‘He was faithful, true, a loyal friend, a good son, and he was wise beyond his years.’
    • ‘They mean you will have true and loyal friendship and success in love.’
    • ‘Better still, all her true friends stayed and kept the party going and her spirits high.’
    • ‘I understand now, that we have to go through several acquaintances before we meet true friends.’
    • ‘If we want this province not to be the poorest of them all, let us try to be obedient, loyal, true and faithful.’
    • ‘The support of your true friends should help you get through it all.’
    • ‘He was a true friend to her and inspired her love of horses more than he knew.’
    • ‘You have no one in your life you consider to be a true friend, and never have.’
    • ‘She is remembered as a devoted family woman and a true and loyal friend.’
    • ‘Not only was she leaving behind the love of her life, but she was also leaving behind her only true friend.’
    • ‘If she's a true friend, you should be able to be honest and open about your feelings.’
    • ‘She was devoted to her family and was a fine neighbour and true friend.’
    • ‘I suppose the saying means that a friend who helps you when you really need help is a true friend, and this is a noble sentiment.’
    • ‘Blessed with a most generous nature, Kathleen was a true neighbour and good friend to many.’
    loyal, faithful, true-hearted, devoted, dedicated, staunch, true-blue, constant, unswerving, unwavering
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    1. 3.1true topredicative Accurately conforming to (a standard or expectation); faithful to.
      ‘this entirely new production remains true to the essence of Lorca's play’
      • ‘If you are true to the medium of film, you get a response, wherever the story is located.’
      • ‘I have had a positive outlook throughout my service and been true to myself.’
      • ‘Great leaders define themselves not by their work rate but by being true to themselves.’
      • ‘This fresh and stylish production remains true to that spirit and is well worth looking out for.’
      • ‘But true to his form, he has long refused to recognise colour as a barrier to anything.’
      • ‘He was ever true to his family roots in rural Mayo and had a great love for his animals.’
      • ‘But you also have to stay true to what you want and not jump at everything that comes your way.’
      • ‘I always try to be honest and true to myself and not to take life too seriously.’
      • ‘I strongly believe that until the breakdown of his marriage he had been true to his wedding vows.’
      • ‘Will had indeed stayed true to his promise and brought around his music for me to use.’
      • ‘It's true to my present train of thought, and is not far aside from my normal voice.’
      • ‘Simply by being true to his sexual nature, he risked public shame and possible imprisonment.’
      • ‘People start to understand almost instinctively what they do which is true to them.’
      • ‘To be true to the spirit of the evening, perhaps I should start by being as positive as I possibly can.’
      • ‘He is trying to be true to his idol and be true to himself but he can't do one without going against the grain of the other.’
      • ‘An important part of being honest is being true to ourselves, and if we live in the truth we will be free.’
      • ‘Now, though, unable to be true to himself, his painting too became a masquerade.’
      • ‘Men who are honest, men who are true to duty, men with moral courage to make a difference.’
      • ‘She was lucky to have her wonderful assistant Kathleen who was loyal and true to Mary.’
      • ‘Do you have a way working that you stay true to, regardless of the project?’
      in keeping with, consistent with, in harmony with, in accord with, in accordance with, in agreement with, in line with, in character with, compatible with, congruent with, commensurate with
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  • 4archaic Honest.

    ‘we appeal to all good men and true to rally to us’
    • ‘And to hold up the Virgin Mary as the only example of a true, honest woman and to show this as the ideal can not be right.’
    • ‘If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.’
    • ‘Limerick have a reputation for being tough and honest and true competitors, and they showed that today.’
    • ‘He is decent and honest and true, which cannot be said of many of his critics.’


  • 1literary Truly.

    ‘Hobson spoke truer than he knew’
    • ‘He spoke truer than he knew, or else he had foreseen the course of events.’
    • ‘Adam Smith never spoke truer than when he said: "Work is done in the workplace, but the real business of life is usually accomplished while entertaining".’
    • ‘By my faith, he may find that he spoke truer than he is aware of.’
    truthfully, honestly, sincerely, candidly, frankly, truly, veraciously
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  • 2Accurately or without variation.

    • ‘Despite the distance and the wind, Hooper had aimed true.’
    • ‘But Martin had played true.’
    accurately, unerringly, unswervingly, without deviating
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[with object]
  • Bring (an object, wheel, or other construction) into the exact shape, alignment, or position required.

    • ‘He begins the laborious process by truing the radius of the front strap and then meticulously laying out line after line of the finely cut checkering.’
    • ‘Fabric layers shift while sewing and cutting, so once you've trimmed and trued the edges, the chenille may be smaller than your pattern pieces.’
    • ‘The five-head molder first trues a piece of lumber, then the counter-rotating side heads and top/bottom heads fashion the molding exactly as the machine has been set up to do.’
    • ‘The receivers are trued to ensure everything is square and concentric, the bolts are hand lapped to fit the receiver raceways, and bolt lugs are lapped to ensure they bear evenly.’
    • ‘The receiver is trued and the window enlarged for that massive cylinder.’


  • come true

    • Actually happen or become the case.

      ‘dreams can come true’
      • ‘Their relieved mother talks about her dreams for them finally coming true.’
      • ‘The irony of it all was that my joke could actually be coming true!’
      • ‘If he were alive today he would see his dream coming true but not quite in the way he imagined.’
      • ‘Although Rachel is busy all hours of the day, she has managed to make at least one of her domestic dreams come true.’
      • ‘It promises to be a magical event where dreams actually will come true on the night.’
      • ‘There wasn't a dry eye in the house when he said his dream had come true.’
      • ‘Dreams that I had as a little kid are actually coming true, and it's all thanks to you.’
      • ‘The ultimate dream is about to come true for a nine-year-old football fanatic.’
      • ‘Something like this is a dream come true for any amateur dramatic society.’
      • ‘I suppose it is a dream come true for her, now she is actually going out with him.’
      be fulfilled, be realized, become a reality, happen, occur, take place
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  • out of true (or the true)

    • Not in the correct or exact shape or alignment.

      ‘take care not to pull the frame out of true’
      • ‘One can actually observe the fact that it is out of true.’
      • ‘Doors are being fitted into linings that appear to be either in wind or out of true - several linings appear to be oversize and create fixing problems by far the biggest headache appears to be in the double wardrobe door arrangements.’
      • ‘My back wheel's out of true; my front brake makes weird sounds; my seat is tilted and uncomfortable.’
      • ‘Knowledge needs always to pass through this detour of selfless tact, whereby its forms are bent out of true by the shapes of what refuses its clutch.’
      • ‘One front tire will start to spin out of true, and when your damage becomes severe, that effects handling a little.’
      • ‘Over several weeks and a lot of cracked pavement neither rim came out of true.’
      • ‘‘What is the ‘cataclysm’ but the artist's own energy - some deviant energy which blows apart the world's habitual shapes, dislocates things out of true, only to imbue the remaining fragments with a new intensity.’
      • ‘I thought it was okay, on the whole, although the eyes are little out of true.’
      • ‘Once you've eliminated hops, your rim will be slightly out of true laterally from the adjustment.’
      • ‘The front wheel is a little out of true and a couple of spokes are bent, but otherwise the bike looks OK.’
      askew, skew, at an angle, lopsided, crooked, tilting, tilted, atilt, dipping, out of line
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  • many a true word is spoken in jest

    • proverb A humorous remark not intended to be taken seriously may turn out to be accurate after all.

      • ‘Whether it was by jest, or not many a true word is spoken in jest and often people get upset precisely for that reason.’
      • ‘As an old saying goes: many a true word is spoken in jest.’
      • ‘There was a time when nobody had heard that the grass was greener on the other side, when no-one scoffed at the thought of a paper tiger, and when none had heard that many a true word is spoken in jest.’
      • ‘I'm joking, but you know, many a true word is spoken in jest, so in some ways it's true, at least with regard to today's scene.’
      • ‘And as we all know, many a true word is spoken in jest.’
      • ‘The trouble is, many a true word is spoken in jest, and right now we seem to be somewhere between stages 1 and 2.’
      • ‘This piece hits the nail on the head and proves that many a true word is spoken in jest.’
      • ‘Remember: many a true word is spoken in jest.’
      • ‘Well, many a true word is spoken in jest.’
  • true to form (or type)

    • Being or behaving as expected.

      ‘true to form, they took it well’
      • ‘Is this the beginning of a cleverly-crafted ideological shift or is Jack, true to form, merely trying to save his own skin?’
      • ‘But, true to form as with previously annual quizzes the event went like clockwork.’
      • ‘The show dealt with the degeneration of youth culture, and, true to form, spent some time lambasting tabletop role-playing games.’
      • ‘The whole centre is in need of regeneration and, as true to form, it is the private investor that sets the standard.’
      • ‘This spicy organic example is true to type, with summery, grape and orange peel aromas and zesty, crisp acidity.’
      • ‘Ultimately, and true to form, the woman is portrayed as the weaker sex.’
      • ‘He was simply acting true to form, playing games with party members, particularly the growing number who had lost faith in his leadership.’
      • ‘And Martin, true to form, did not let the cat out of the bag.’
      • ‘He, true to form, behaves like a cad and leaves her for the gambling tables and his deserved fate.’
      • ‘And true to form, my pattern of destruction had started its cycle again.’
  • true to life

    • Accurately representing real events or objects.

      ‘artworks of the period were often composed in strident colors not true to life’
      • ‘Colors are true to life, with bright, crisp reds and deep, solid blacks.’
      • ‘I did a reading of a play, a biographical melodrama, which was absolutely true to life yet somewhat underplayed for emotion, for intensity of feeling is generally kept internal in most Asian cultures.’
      • ‘I may have taken some cinematic liberties but otherwise the depiction is very true to life,’ he said.’
      • ‘Thus the poses of figures plucked out of the calligraphic scribble were understood by drawing from models; they are real but set up, lifelike but not necessarily true to life.’
      • ‘I know teenagers who'd say this is very true to life.’
      • ‘And I have the idea they are more realistic, true to life.’
      • ‘All that Schoenberg did, in a sense, was take it further, make it ‘realer’, more true to life, more honest - hence more genuinely artistic.’
      • ‘That is why, at its best, her fiction is so true to life.’
      • ‘The image is surprisingly solid for a movie shot in ten days, and the colors are true to life.’
      • ‘I've been told that this story is overly true to life, and I agree.’
      accurate, true to life, faithful, telling it like it is, as it really happened, fact-based, realistic, close, lifelike, convincing
      View synonyms


Old English trēowe, trȳwe ‘steadfast, loyal’; related to Dutch getrouw, German treu, also to truce.