What does “above board” mean?

Find out the definition and origins of the idiom 'above board.' Explore its modern usage in business, politics, and personal relationships for transparent dealings.

Definition and Meaning

Above board is an idiom that means to be open, honest, and transparent in one’s dealings.

It is often used in the context of business or politics, where there is a need for transparency and honesty.

Etymology

The phrase “above board” comes from the world of card games.

In the 17th century, dishonest players would often hide cards under the table, where they could not be seen by their opponents.

Honest players, on the other hand, would keep their cards “above board,” or on the table where everyone could see them.

Over time, the phrase came to be used more broadly to describe any situation where honesty and transparency were valued.

Modern Usage

Today, the phrase “above board” is used in a variety of contexts, from business and politics to personal relationships.

Here are three example sentences that use the idiom:

  • “I want to make sure that everything we do is above board and transparent.”
  • “We need to be above board in our negotiations with the other party.”
  • “I appreciate your commitment to keeping everything above board.”

Synonyms for “above board” include honest, transparent, and forthright.

In conclusion, “above board” is an idiom that means to be open, honest, and transparent in one’s dealings.

Its origins can be traced back to the world of card games, but it is now used more broadly to describe any situation where honesty and transparency are valued.