Above board


      • honest and fair
        To describe something that is done openly and transparently, without any hidden or deceptive intentions

      • legitimate and lawful
        To describe a business or financial transaction that is conducted in accordance with legal and ethical standards, without any illegal or unethical practices

    Examples of Above board

    • The company's financial statements were presented above board, meaning they were completely transparent and free from any deceitful practices.

      The idiom "above board" refers to being open and honest in one's dealings, without any hidden or underhanded motives. It originated from the 19th century when card games were played with boards, and players who played above the board were considered trustworthy because they had nothing to hide.

    • After the scandal broke, the CEO assured the shareholders that the company's future operations would be conducted above board.

      In this example, the idiom is used to indicate that the company's future activities will be conducted in a transparent and trustworthy manner, free from any corrupt or dishonest practices.

    • The politician's campaign promises were made above board, and he delivered on most of them.

      Here, the idiom is used to indicate that the politician's promises were made honestly and without any hidden agendas. The use of the idiom also implies that the politician followed through on most of his commitments.

    • The board of directors approved the merger above board, meaning they made the decision after thorough consideration and without any undue influence.

      In this example, the idiom is used to indicate that the board's decision was made in a fair and transparent manner, without any external pressures or hidden agendas.

    • The negotiations between the two parties were conducted above board, and both sides were satisfied with the outcome.

      Here, the idiom is used to indicate that the negotiations were conducted in a straightforward and honest manner, without any underhanded tactics or hidden agendas. The use of the idiom also implies that both parties were satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations.


    The idiom "above board" is commonly used to describe something that is honest, fair, legitimate, and lawful. It can refer to a person's actions or behavior, a business transaction, or any other situation where transparency and integrity are valued. In all cases, the intention is to convey that there is nothing hidden or deceptive going on, and that everything is being done in an open and upfront manner.

    In everyday conversations, "above board" is often used to reassure others that a particular situation or action is being conducted honestly and ethically. For example, if someone is suspicious about a business deal, they may ask if everything is "above board" to make sure there are no hidden agendas or illegal practices involved. Similarly, if someone is being accused of wrongdoing, they may defend themselves by saying that their actions were completely "above board" and there was nothing underhanded about them.

    Origin of "Above board"

    The origin of the idiom "above board" can be traced back to the 16th century, when card games were a popular form of entertainment. In these games, players would often try to cheat by hiding cards under the table or up their sleeves. To prevent this, some games were played on a table with a raised edge, so that players had to keep their hands in plain sight at all times. This type of game was known as "above board," meaning that everything was visible and there was no opportunity for cheating.

    Over time, the term "above board" came to be used in a broader sense, to refer to any situation where there was no hidden or deceptive behavior involved. Today, it is commonly used in business and legal contexts, where honesty and transparency are highly valued. The idiom has also been used in literature and popular culture, further cementing its meaning and usage in the English language.