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[uh-buhv-bawrd, -bohrd] /əˈbʌvˌbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd/
adverb, adjective
in open sight; without tricks, concealment, or disguise:
Their actions are open and aboveboard.
Origin of aboveboard
1610-20; above + board; so called from the requirement of keeping the hands above the table or board in order to discourage possible cheating at cards
honest, straightforward.
devious, underhanded, sneaky. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for above board
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That's all above board, but by thunder, if it's a fight that you will have, touch that man again.'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The buyer gains much by being open and above board with the seller.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • I asked him why, an' open an' above board he says: 'Because I'm goin' to get drunk.'

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx
  • My life has always been perfectly open and above board, not like that of my husband.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • As for you and me, we'll make a lot of money and make it fairly and above board.

    Frenzied Finance Thomas W. Lawson
  • Show me a man who's dealing bank; he's free and above board.

    The Easiest Way

    Eugene Walter and Arthur Hornblow
  • The action of the Popes, on the contrary, has been fair and above board.

    Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 2 Francis Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for above board

above board

adjective, adverb (aboveboard when prenominal)
in the open; without dishonesty, concealment, or fraud
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for above board



1610s, from above and board (n.1). "A figurative expression borrowed from gamesters, who, when they put their hands under the table, are changing their cards." [Johnson]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with above board


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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