truth to tell



truth to tell

  1. (set phrase) Actually; frankly; as a matter of fact.
    • 1838, Charles Dickens, chapter 51, in Oliver Twist:
      Truth to tell, the supper had been waiting a most unreasonable time.
    • 1915, Harold MacGrath, chapter 13, in The Voice In The Fog:
      Haggerty had his trouble for nothing. There was no clue whatever in Lord Monckton's suite. . . . Truth to tell, Haggerty had not expected to find anything.
    • 2008 April 17, David Van Biema, "The Pope on Academic Freedom," Time (retrieved 7 July 2015):
      In 1999 the American bishops mandated that if a college wanted to call itself Catholic, its theologians needed a bishop's good-housekeeping seal. And yet, truth to tell, the majority of Catholic schools hadn't really toed the line.
    • 2012, Dougie Brimson, Art of Fart, →ISBN:
      I am a huge fan [of farting]. Well, truth to tell I am more than a simple fan for having studied the act of breaking wind for most of my life I consider myself to be far more than a simple aficionado []

Usage notesEdit

  • Often used with the connotation that preceding statements have not been frank, forthcoming, or wholly correct.


Further readingEdit