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show your true colours | show your true colors

Meaning: You show your true colours if you show what you're really like, or you reveal your true character.

For example:

  • Bob always acts like he's a strong, brave guy, but when the hurricane hit he showed his true colors. He was too scared to go check on old Mrs Flowers, our next-door neighbour.

  • The players showed their true colours when they came back from three goals down to win the match.

Note: 1. "Show your true colours" is British spelling and "show your true colors" is American spelling. 2. Variations on this idiom include "see somebody in their true colours" and "show somebody in their true colours".

Quick Quiz:

We always thought Barry was a weak and cowardly guy, but he showed his true colours when he
  1. bought a big black motorbike
  2. started drinking whisky and rye
  3. saved a kid from a bear attack

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