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deep down

At bottom, basically. For example, Deep down she was a rebel, or Although he would never admit it, deep down he was very fond of her. [ c. 1900 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for deep down
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Historical Examples
  • deep down in a shaft, or in an ice-cavern, the sapphire reflection gives to the human face quite a ghastly pallor.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • deep down in his sunless soul he was either a prince, a fool or an artist.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • deep down in your heart there must be some wish you cherish.

    Ted and the Telephone Sara Ware Bassett
  • And yet, deep down in her heart she knew that Berrington had said no more than the truth.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • deep down among the coral rocks you saw little coloured fish swim.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham

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