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Re: Honest to a fault

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on February 10, 2008 at 12:39:

In Reply to: Re: Honest to a fault posted by pamela on February 10, 2008 at 12:38:

: : : : : : : There is an expression in Italian that roughly means "honest to a fault". It describes a market vendor who refuses to put his best produce up front and fill orders from the lesser stock - eventually going broke because he's the only honest vendor at market.

: : : : : : : Is there an equivalent English phrase/expression?

: : : : : : I unfortunately do not know the Italian expression, but I would have said, "Too honest for his own good." The phrase, "Honest to a fault," means honest to such a degree that it becomes a fault. But the phrase "to a fault" usually means as seen by someone else.

: : : : : : I can imagine "Honest to a fault" used of someone who is exaggeratedly truthful, but then one should say, "Truthful to a fault"--like a little sister who always rats you out, or a friend who can't help telling you how unbecoming your wardrobe is.
: : : : : : SS

: : : : : "Honest to a fault" might describe you if your paycheck is three cents too big and you feel compelled to call your employer's attention to the error. ~rb

: : : : I've heard "honest to a fault" in English, and it gets 86,000 Google hit, although many of these are related to a song of the same title. The meaning is the same in English - someone who is honest to the point where they do themselves an injustice. Pamela

: : : Umm... I think the original poster knows "honest to a fault" and is looking for a different phrase to match the definition of the (not given) Italian phrase which apparently means you are so honest that you cause your own ruin.

: : Yes, RRC, and English may not have an exact match. "Honest to a fault" lacks the implication of harming oneself through honesty. A person who is honest to a fault may suffer nothing worse than a reputation for being obsessed with trivial details of transactions. ~rb

: Duh! Pamela

I've heard "generous to a fault" but never "honest to a fault". Same idea, I know, but I just have never heard "...to a fault" in English preceded by anything but "generous".