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Origin of false colors
Words nearby false colors
Idioms and Phrases with false colors
Pretense, misrepresentation, or hypocrisy; deceptive statements or actions. For example, She's sailing under false colors—she claims to be a Republican, but endorses Democratic legislation. This term alludes to the practice of pirate ships sailing under false colors—that is, running a particular flag specifically to lure another vessel close enough to be captured. [Late 1600s]