Idioms – Honesty & Fairness

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Hey guys!

Everybody knows the importance of learning some idioms and colloquial expressions, especially when you live in a foreign country. We always learn a lot of them by communicating with native speakers or watching movies and series. In this section, you learn some idioms and expressions to communicate in a more natural way when speaking English in a foreign country.

Here are a few Idioms related to the topic Honesty & Fairness.

* above aboard – when a situation or business is above board, it is honest and legal (às claras, abertamente)

The company expected the deal to be cleared above board and at the fastest pace possible.

* not beat around / about the bush – to say what you want to say clearly and directly (não enrolar, não fugir do assunto, não fazer rodeios)

Will you please stop beating about the bush and get to the point?

* below the belt – to say something cruel and unfair (injusto e cruel, jogo sujo, golpe baixo)

The shot that he took at him was completely below the belt. Decent people do not compete like this.

* by fair means or foul – to use any possible method to achieve something, not caring if their behaviour is dishonest or unfair (custe o que custar, por bem ou por mal)

His father is filthy rich so obviously he is not worried about choosing the right university. He can get admission in any of them that he chooses.

* call a spade a spade – when you speak honestly and directly about a subject, even if it offends people (falar na cara, não ter papas na língua)

That dress made her look fat, let’s call a spade a spade before she goes out wearing it and embarrasses herself.

 * come clean– to tell the truth about something (abrir o jogo, jogar limpo)

The guy came clean after the police had started their investigation about the robbery.

* fair and square – when you win a competition or do something without cheating or lying (de forma justa, sem exceções, da mesma maneira para todos)

The supporters for the other team were angry but we won the game fair and square.

* keep your nose clean – when you behave well and avoid trouble (manter-se longe de problemas, não se meter em problemas)

By avoiding the drug dealers on the corner street, James was making an effort to keep his nose clean.

* lay / put your cards on the table – to tell someone the truth about your opinion, feelings or plans (botar as cartas na mesa, abrir o jogo)

I thought it was time I laid my cards on the table, so I told him that I had no intention of marrying him.

* a level playing field –  a situation that is fair and where no one has an advantage over other people (campo nivelado, igual para todos, de igual para igual)

These set of rules would provide a level playing field to all the competitors and all would have a fair chance of succeeding.

* move the goalposts – to change the rules or aims in a situation or activity, in order to gain advantage and make things more difficult for the other people involved (mudar as regras do jogo injustamente no meio do processo)

We’d almost signed the contract when the other guys moved the goalposts and said they wanted more money.

* on the level – to be honest or true (honesto, sincero, confiável)

I know he’s lied to you before, but I really think he’s on the level this time.

* stab someone in the back – to harm someone who trusts you (dar uma facada nas costas, trair)

A lot of people in this business think they have to stab each other in the back to succeed.

* to say / tell something to someone’s face – to say something critical or unpleasant directly to someone (dizer na cara)

I know he’s lying, and I’ll tell him so to his face.

I hope you learned some new idioms today, see you next time!

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