ring false


Also, have a false or hollow ring; strike a false note. Seem wrong or deceitful, as in Her denial rings false—I'm sure she was there when it happened, or His good wishes always seem to have a hollow ring, or Carol's congratulatory phone call really struck a false note. Ring false and the antonym, ring true, which means “seem genuine,” allude to the old practice of judging a coin genuine or fake by the sound it gives out when tapped. This practice became obsolete when coins ceased to be made of precious metals, but by then the idioms were being used to refer to other matters. [Mid-1800s]

QUIZZES

WHO SAID IT: A QUIZ ON PRESIDENTIAL WIT AND WISDOM

Think you know your presidents? Take this quiz and see if you can match the style, wit, and ideology of these memorable lines to the right POTUS.
Question 1 of 9
“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.