What does "tell us what you really think" mean? It seems to be used when someone is telling us what they really think...


The phrase is often used ironically as a reaction to a strongly-expressed opinion.

A non-ironic use, to draw out a stronger opinion:

"So, what do you think of the website's new layout?"

"Oh, it's okay..."

"Come on, even I know there are a few mistakes in there; tell us what you really think."

An ironic use, as a reaction to a strong opinion:

"I hate him, I never want to see him again, and I hope he catches a terrible disease!"

"But tell us what you really think about him, Sally."


It might be used when it is apparent that speakers are not expressing their true feelings. Tell us what you really think is an encouragment to them be honest about them.

  • 4
    But today in the US it is often employed sarcastically when someone expresses an opinion more forcibly than is normal in the context. – StoneyB Oct 24 '13 at 19:32
  • 2
    Being across the other side of the Atlantic, I didn't know that. But there must be many expressions that can be used sarcastically in this way. – Barrie England Oct 24 '13 at 19:33
  • Oh, yes--practically anything. That one's just become commonplace in the last ten years or so. – StoneyB Oct 24 '13 at 20:41

protected by tchrist May 24 '16 at 14:22

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