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put one's cards on the table



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put one's cards on the table

  1. (idiomatic) To reveal one's true intentions, beliefs, feelings, or other previously concealed facts about one's situation; to speak frankly.
    • 1899, Henry James, The Awkward Age, ch. 4:
      "We needn't either of us," she continued, "be concerned for the other's reasons, though I'm perfectly ready, I assure you, to put my cards on the table."
    • 1915, John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps, ch. 4:
      I thought the time had come for me to put my cards on the table. I saw by this man's eye that he was the kind you can trust.
    • 1921, William MacLeod Raine, Tangled Trails, ch. 10:
      "Let's put our cards on the table. We think you're the man the police are looking for—the one described in the papers."
    • 2003 May 27, Tony Karon, "Mideast: Can Bush Deliver?," Time:
      Although Sharon has never put all his cards on the table, he's given plenty of indicators that in his vision, a Palestinian state comprises the 40-50 percent of the West Bank currently under PA jurisdiction.