Meaning of TRUE in English


I. true 1 S1 W1 /truː/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ truly , ↑ truthfully ≠ ↑ untruthfully , ↑ true ; noun : ↑ truth ≠ ↑ untruth , ↑ truthfulness ; adjective : ↑ true ≠ ↑ untrue , ↑ truthful ≠ ↑ untruthful ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: treowe 'faithful' ]

1 . NOT FALSE based on facts and not imagined or invented OPP false ⇨ truly , truth

it is true (that)

It’s not true that I’m going to marry him.

No, honestly, it’s a true story.

Students decide if statements are true or false.

true of

The same is true of all political parties.

true for

This is especially true for old people.

It’s generally true to say that fewer people are needed nowadays.

The results appear to hold true (=still be correct) for other countries.

⇨ too good to be true at ↑ good 1 (24), ⇨ not ring true at ↑ ring 2 (5)

2 . REAL [only before noun] the true nature of something is its real nature, which may be hidden or not known SYN real

true value/cost etc (of something)

The house was sold for only a fraction of its true value.

We need to understand the true extent of the problem.

true nature/meaning/identity etc (of something)

She wasn’t aware of the true nature of their relationship.

She managed to conceal her true feelings.

After a couple of days she showed her true self (=real character) .

3 . ADMITTING SOMETHING especially spoken used when you are admitting that something is correct, but saying that something else, often opposite, is also correct:

‘He’s very hard-working.’ ‘True, but I still don’t think he’s the right man for the job.’

it is true (that)

It is true that there have been improvements in some areas.

4 . PROPER [only before noun] having all the qualities which a type of thing or person should have:

The heroine finally finds true love.

She’s been a true friend to me.

It’s an amateur sport in the true sense of the word (=with the exact meaning of this word) .

5 . come true if wishes, dreams etc come true, they happen in the way that someone has said or hoped that they would:

The prediction seems to have come true.

⇨ be a dream come true at ↑ dream 1 (5)

6 . LOYAL faithful and loyal to someone, whatever happens

true to

Throughout the whole ordeal, she remained true to her husband.

7 . true to form/type used to say that someone is behaving in the bad way that you expect them to:

True to form, Henry turned up late.

8 . true to your word/principles etc behaving in the way you said you would or according to principles which you believe in:

He was true to his word and said nothing about it to Lisa.

9 . true to life/true-to-life a book, play, description etc that is true to life seems very real and natural SYN realistic :

The film is frighteningly true-to-life and very funny.

10 . (all/only) too true used to say that you know something is true, when you do not like it:

‘It’s not as easy as it looks.’ ‘Too true!’

It is only too true that people are judged by their accents.

11 . STRAIGHT/LEVEL [not before noun] technical fitted, placed, or formed in a way that is perfectly flat, straight, correct etc:

If the door’s not true, it won’t close properly.

12 . sb’s aim is true if your aim is true, you hit the thing that you were throwing or shooting at

13 . your true colours if you show your true colours, you do something which shows what your real attitudes and qualities are, especially when they are bad

show/reveal your true colours

He was forced to reveal his true colours when asked how he would vote.

14 . (there’s) many a true word spoken in jest old-fashioned used to say that when people are joking they sometimes say things that are true and important

• • •


■ nouns

▪ the true nature of something

The prisoners are encouraged to confront the true nature of their crimes.

▪ the true value of something

At the time, I did not recognise the true value of my discovery.

▪ the true cost of something

The fixed prescription charge conceals from the general public the true cost of medicines.

▪ the true extent of something

Our main difficulty is finding out the true extent of the problem.

▪ the true meaning of something

The story teaches a lesson about the true meaning of friendship.

▪ sb’s true identity

He knew someone would soon discover his true identity.

▪ sb’s true feelings

Stephen’s controlled voice disguised his true feelings.

▪ sb’s true self (=someone’s real character)

He had revealed his true self.

• • •


▪ true based on real facts, and not imagined or invented:

The film was based on a true story.


Do you think the rumours are true?

▪ accurate based on facts and not containing any mistakes – used about descriptions, information, and numbers:

The measurements are accurate.


His assessment of the current economic situation is accurate.

▪ undeniable/indisputable definitely true, so that no one can argue or disagree about it:

It is indisputable that the situation has got worse.


The decline in inflation was undeniable, even if the reasons for the decline were unclear.

▪ factual based on facts, or involving facts:

The court makes its decision based on factual evidence.


There is very little factual information about the incident.


a factual account of what happened


The questions ask for a purely factual answer, not for opinion.

▪ verifiable formal able to be proven to be true or correct:

The data was verifiable.

▪ it is a fact used when saying that something is definitely true:

It is a fact that women live longer than men.

▪ be the truth to be true – used when saying that someone is not lying:

What I told you was the truth.

▪ be the case if a situation is the case, that is the way the situation truly is:

It is certainly the case that crime rates are lower in Europe than in the US.

II. true 2 BrE AmE adverb

[ Word Family: adverb : ↑ truly , ↑ truthfully ≠ ↑ untruthfully , ↑ true ; noun : ↑ truth ≠ ↑ untruth , ↑ truthfulness ; adjective : ↑ true ≠ ↑ untrue , ↑ truthful ≠ ↑ untruthful ]

1 . in an exact straight line:

The arrow flew straight and true to its target.

2 . technical if a type of animal breeds true, the young animals are exactly like their parents

III. true 3 BrE AmE noun

out of true British English not completely straight, level, or balanced:

The walls are slightly out of true.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.