not to put too fine a point on it

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A reference to the fact that the speaker is about to say something blunt rather than fine (that is, delicate or subtle).

Pronunciation[edit]

Phrase[edit]

not to put too fine a point on it

  1. (idiomatic) Used to apologize for a possibly impolite statement one is making.
    • 1852 March – 1853 September, Charles Dickens, “Mr. Bucket”, in Bleak House, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1853, OCLC 999756093, page 217:
      My little woman is at present in—not to put too fine a point on it—in a pious state, or in what she considers such, and attends the Evening Exertions (which is the name they go by) of a reverend party of the name of Chadband.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 16: Eumaeus]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483, page 570:
      En route, to his taciturn, and, not to put too fine a point on it, not yet perfectly sober companion, Mr Bloom, who at all events, was in complete possession of his faculties, never more so, in fact disgustingly sober, spoke a word of caution re the dangers of nighttown, women of ill fame and swell mobsmen, []
    • 2000, Amy Jenkins, chapter 4, in Honeymoon, London: Hodder & Stoughton, →ISBN; republished as Honeymoon (Flame), London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001, →ISBN, page 39:
      You explain slowly and clearly that you are doing him the honour of not beating about the bush [] Well, you will end up – not to put too fine a point on it (you lower your voice) – having sex. And while you are sure that sex would be very nice, the prognosis for a future between the two of you is not good.

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