"Tell It Like It Is"

Shapiro, Fred Fred.Shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Feb 16 22:28:54 UTC 2008

Can anyone illuminate the origins of the phrase "tell it like it is"?  Wikipedia says Howard Cosell had a catchphrase, "I'm just telling it like it is," but I am not sure how that fits in to the history of the expression.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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