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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


Idioms relating to honesty, dishonesty and doubt
from:  'above board'   to:  'economical with the truth'

  • above board
    • If a situation or business is described as above board, it is open, honest and legal.
      "There are not secret negotiations. Our dealings have always been above board."

  • barefaced liar
    • Someone who lies easily, with a total lack of shame, is a barefaced liar.
      "That barefaced liar stole my watch and said he'd found it!"

  • bend the truth
    • If you bend the truth, you say something that is not entirely true.
      "Ok, I bent the truth a bit. I told him it was my natural colour, but I didn't say that my hairdresser helped me to keep it natural!"

  • (the) benefit of the doubt
    • If you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you choose to believe that the person is innocent, honest or telling the truth, because there is no evidence to the contrary.
      "Although he found it hard to believe Tom's explanation, the teacher decided to give him the benefit of the doubt."

  • black market
    • The black market refers to the illegal buying and selling of goods or currencies.
      "Be careful of what you buy on the black market - it's not always good quality."

  • break every rule in the book
    • If you behave in a completely unacceptable way, you break every rule in the book.
      "Our competitors obtained the contract by breaking every rule in the book."

  • buy a lemon
    • If buy something, especially a car, that is defective, unsatisfactory, constantly gives trouble or stops running after a short time, you buy a lemon.
      "The car I bought was a real lemon. It broke down two weeks later."

  • in cahoots with someone
    • If one person is in cahoots with another, they are working in close partnership, usually conspiring to do something dishonest.
      "There was a rumour that the Mayor was in cahoots with a chain of supermarkets."

  • put/lay one's cards on the table
    • If you put (or lay) your cards on the table, you speak honestly and openly about your feelings and intentions.
      "Let's be honest with each other and put our cards on the table."

  • catch red-handed
    • If a person is caught red-handed, they are caught while they are doing something wrong or illegal.
      "The police arrived as the burglar was leaving the house. He was caught red-handed."

  • cook the books
    • A person who cooks the books is one who changes the facts or figures in the financial accounts, often in order to steal money.
      "The actor discovered after a while that his agent was cooking the books."

  • (as) crooked as a dog's hind leg
    • To say that someone is as crooked as a dog's hind leg means that they are very dishonest indeed.
      "He can't be trusted - he's as crooked as a dog's hind leg."

  • daylight robbery
    • The term daylight robbery is used when the price of something is thought to be much too high.
      "$10 for an orange juice? That's daylight robbery!"

  • economical with the truth
    • To say that a person is economical with the truth means that, without actually lying, they omit important facts or give incomplete information.
      "The politician was accused of being economical with the truth."

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 Honesty and Dishonesty 

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