English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Honesty - Dishonesty
|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
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!
|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
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
Be careful of what you buy on the black market - it's not always good quality.
|break every rule||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
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
There was a rumour that the Mayor was in cahoots with a chain of supermarkets.
|cards on the table||If you put your cards on the table,
you speak honestly and openly about your
feelings and intentions.
Let's clean the air 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
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.
|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
The politician was accused of being economical with the truth.
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