As Straight As a Die

Meanings of “As Straight as a Die”

The phrase “as straight as a die” means a straight, direct, or plain person or an object. It also means a pure and simple person who dislikes people who break rules.

Origin of “As Straight as a Die”

The phrase “as straight as a die” is stated to have been mentioned in the printed format in Jehan Palsgrae’s book as “as smothe as a dyce.” The book titled Lesclarcissement de la langue françoyse was published in 1530. Later, it was transformed into “as true as a die” when used by John Gay in his book, Songs and Balls: New Song on New Similes published in 1732. It later changed into this modern phrase “as straight as a die” when used by an American newspaper, The Janesville Gazette in its publication of April 1871.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Straight as a Die by Mary Black

We won’t get away from this either
No matter how hard we try
The truth is there to catch us
The truth is going to save our lives

He’s in a thrill of anticipation
So glad he bought something small
To give her for a gift
He feels kind of silly
In case she thinks he’s having her on
All he meant was
She’s got a friend she can kiss

And he don’t mind that she’s a short-tempered girl
He don’t mind that she soon has to fly
He don’t mind ‘cause she’s got something he loves
She’s as straight as a die

The poet first addresses himself and his beloved, adding the truth of their love can save their lives. Then he goes on to praise his beloved that she has got a good friend like him and that she has a sound body as “She’s as straight as a die.” The phrase has been used by the end to show that the poet thinks his beloved a very straightforward person.

Example #2

Steve Bruce tells Newcastle fans: ‘I’m not Mike Ashley’s bagman” by Louis Taylor from The Guardian published on July 24, 2019

Newcastle’s owner joined his latest manager on Tyneside on Wednesday, after landing at the training ground in his helicopter. “Getting on with the people you work for is always key to any success,” Bruce said. “It’s up to me to strike up a relationship and, so far, he’s been straight as a die. I’m sure that will continue.”

This paragraph is taken from the news report by Louis Taylor about Newcastle’s owner. Steven Bruce, the owner, has stated that the would-be manager is quite a straight forward person and that they would have a very good relationship. The phrase is used to express that the manager an honest person.

Example #3

Threads of Deceit by Neal James

“Bret Hamilton’s stern face was the first thing James saw when he rolled up for work at nine forty-five. Hamilton was ex-army, and although in his mid-fifties, kept himself extremely fit. He wore the company uniform with the same pride that he had when serving Queen and country abroad in the colours of the parachute regiment. What you saw with the man was what he got; he was as straight as a die and knew nothing of this deputy’s complicity in Carter’s scheme. The fact that he appeared to be sour-faced individual had no effect on Poynter at all; he lived by the book and everything was black and white.”

The novel, Threads of Deceit is about Bret Hamilton, a former soldier, who is not only fit but also very expert in his work. He was quite innocent and took pride in his work and even did not know the crime of his Carter, his deputy. Here the phrase “as straight as a die” is used to express the honesty and innocence of the character.

Example #4

Case for Three Detectives: A Sergeant Beef Mystery by Leo Bruce

“Well – he was out of work,” was Enid’s defence.

When he came out, however, as he did nearly a year before her brother, who was by now regarded as an habitual criminal, she had been able to help him. She had already got her job with the Thurstons, and, by appealing to Mrs. Thurston, and telling her the whole truth, she had persuaded her to engage him as a chauffeur. For nearly three years, she assured us, he had been as straight as a die, enjoying his job, and saving his wages.”

This novel is about three detectives in a mystery narrative. In this paragraph, Enid expresses how she loves her brother, though is criminal.  She always defends him and helps him in need. Enid also arranges a job for him stating that he is a very honest and innocent person. She has used this phrase “he had been as straight as a die” to highlight her brother’s innocence.

Examples in Sentences

Example#1: “Most of the people living in the country are hardworking and as direct as a die.”

Example#2: “I may not be as straight as a die, but if I find someone stealing from my store, I will not be quiet.”

Example#3: “Did you meet Kevin? He was as straight as a die at school, and now he’s a different person.”

Example#4: “Parents expect their children to as straight as a die so that they become responsible adults. Sadly, there are always bad apples in the basket.”

Example#5: “If you are in the business, you must try to be as straight as a die. If you try to cheat your clients, one day you’ll shut down.