- (idiomatic, informal) Used to positively assert the frank honesty of an associated statement of set of statements; equivalent to "to tell the truth".
1991, Mike Sirota, Bicycling Through Space and Time:
- Then it sneezed. Considering what it was smelling, that was no surprise. Tell the truth, I'd gotten so used to the jof jof dung that I didn't notice it anymore.
- Used bracketed by punctuation, especially commas, dashes, or parentheses.
- Less intimate than tell you the truth.