false colours


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Related to false colours: sail under false colours

false colours

pl n
1. (Military) a flag to which one is not entitled, flown esp in order to deceive: the ship was sailing under false colours.
2. an assumed or misleading name or guise: to trade under false colours.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
'You sail under false colours from beginning to end,' he said.
That's how it always is with these Schilleresque noble hearts; till the last moment every goose is a swan with them, till the last moment, they hope for the best and will see nothing wrong, and although they have an inkling of the other side of the picture, yet they won't face the truth till they are forced to; the very thought of it makes them shiver; they thrust the truth away with both hands, until the man they deck out in false colours puts a fool's cap on them with his own hands.
False hair, false colour, false calves, false muscles--they had become different beings.