Way With Words: Show Your True Colors
When we say ‘show your true colors,’ we are making a statement that someone has revealed his or her true character or nature. For example, “Johnny cheated on his girlfriend. He’s finally shown his true colors”. Johnny is a slimy dirtbag,
The phrase originates in naval warfare, under the Articles of War the British Royal Navy’s code of conduct, where a ship was required to fly their ship’s nationality by flag, or ‘colors.’
To deceive the enemy a ship would fly false colors, but under the Articles of War, once a ship began its assault on another ship, they were required to fly their real nationality, or ‘true colors.’
Sailing into battle under the wrong flag was against the code, though that didn’t mean that it never happened, after all deception is a part of warfare.
Pirates, privateers and unscrupulous captains used this method to get the upper hand in many battles, ignoring the Articles entirely.
Despite the Articles of War being discontinued, many people can still easily fathom the flags of ships being revealed as the cannons sound.
Or they’ve seen “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Now all we need is an Articles of Life that requires people to wear their true colors once they begin the attack.
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