Six Shades of True
Our word true is one of the oldest in the language. It may derive from a Proto-Indo-European word for tree. A well-rooted tree is strong, steadfast and firm. By the time the word entered Old English as triewe, it had acquired the meaning “faithful” or “trustworthy.”
New connotations continued to attach to true. The sense “consistent with fact” dates from about 1200. The meaning “real, genuine, not counterfeit” is from late 14th century. About 1550 it took on the sense of “agreeing with a certain standard,” and by late 1500s it could mean “accurately fitted or shaped.”
In modern usage, true has at least six shades of meaning.
Here are some examples from the web, together with a few synonyms that might convey the intended meaning more precisely.
1. Is it true what they say about the ‘Moto G’?
Meaning: correct, accurate, right, verifiable, well-documented, factual
2. This is why, with true musicianship in mind, I rarely touch the piano in my classroom.
Meaning: genuine, authentic, real, actual
3. An Australian forklift driver who some historians argued was the true heir to the British throne has died in the small New South Wales town he called home.
Meaning: rightful, legitimate, legal, lawful, authorized
4. A true friend…has your very best interests at heart.
Meaning: loyal, faithful, constant, devoted, staunch trustworthy, reliable, dependable
5. The costume historian views the history of clothing as a true reflection of culture…
Meaning: accurate, true to life, faithful, factual, realistic
6. True repentance is always characterized by at least three things…
Meaning: sincere, genuine, real, unfeigned, heartfelt
Then again, true might be exactly the word you want.
Here are some idioms that contain the word true:
true as steel: loyal and dependable
true colors: personality traits often concealed by one’s day-to-day behavior
true love: love that does not alter when it alteration finds
ring true: to sound likely (like the intended tone of a bell that has been cast properly)
tried and true: worthy of trust because of previous dependability
true up: straighten something
true to form: according to pattern or previous behavior
true-blue: totally dependable at all times