adj. tru·er, tru·est
a. Consistent with fact or reality; not false or erroneous: the true cost. See Synonyms at real1. See Usage Note at fact.
b. Not counterfeit; real or genuine: true gold. See Synonyms at authentic.
c. Conforming to the characteristics or criteria of a group or type; typical: a true crab; a true gentleman.
d. Properly called: true value.
2. Reliable; accurate: a true prophecy.
a. Faithful, as to a friend, vow, or cause; loyal. See Synonyms at faithful.
b. Archaic Truthful, honest, or trustworthy.
4. Sincerely felt or expressed; unfeigned: true grief.
5. Rightful; legitimate: the true heir.
a. Exactly conforming to a rule, standard, or pattern: trying to sing true B.
b. Accurately shaped, fitted, or placed: Are the wheels true?
c. Determined with reference to the earth's axis, not the magnetic poles: true north.
7. Quick and exact in sensing and responding: a true ear.
8. Computers Indicating one of two possible values taken by a variable in Boolean logic or a binary device.
1. In accord with reality, fact, or truthfulness.
2. Unswervingly; exactly: The archer aimed true.
3. So as to conform to a type, standard, or pattern.
tr.v. trued, tru·ing or true·ing, trues
To position (something) so as to make it balanced, level, or square: trued up the long planks.
1. Truth or reality. Used with the.
2. Proper alignment or adjustment: out of true.
[Middle English trewe, from Old English trēowe, firm, trustworthy; see deru- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Word History: The words true and tree are joined at the root, etymologically speaking. In Old English, the words looked and sounded much more alike than they do now: "tree" was trēow and "true" was trēowe. The first of these comes from the Germanic noun *trewam; the second, from the adjective *treuwaz. Both these Germanic words ultimately go back to an Indo-European root *deru- or *dreu-, appearing in derivatives referring to wood and, by extension, firmness. Truth may be thought of as something firm; so too can certain bonds between people, like trust, another derivative of the same root. A slightly different form of the root, *dru-, appears in the word druid, a type of ancient Celtic priest; his name is etymologically *dru-wid-, or "strong seer."
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus