show one's true stripes

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show one's true stripes

  1. (idiomatic) To reveal one's real beliefs, sentiments, or character, especially through one's behavior.
    • 1996 Feb. 26, "Editorial" Against Change in Cuba," Miami Herald, p. 14A (retrieved 21 March 2013):
      Fidel Castro showed his true stripes again—as if they weren't indelible enough already—by letting his MiGs shoot down two of three unarmed Cuban-exile planes off Havana's coast on Saturday.
    • 2002, Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, →ISBN (2011 reprint), p. 363 (Google preview):
      “Now they're showing their true stripes,” Iimmy Fioretos said. “The Turks wanted to invade all along. That malarkey about ‘protecting the Constitution’ was just a pretext.”
    • 2005 July 12, Danny Hakim, "With Sierra Club's Help, Ford Pushes a New Hybrid ," New York Times (retrieved 21 March 2013):
      "My fear is that Bill Ford is showing his true stripes as just another short-sighted auto executive with no interest in the environment."