No Bones About It – A Direct Statement or a Gentle Confirmation?

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Alison Page

Alison has worked full-time in the writing industry for over ten years, using her knowledge and life experience to create online content, fiction and non-fiction. Alison has published two novels and has ghost-written several non-fiction equestrian books for a client. Alison has been a full-time professional content writer for almost ten years and loves her work as a wordsmith.

No bones about it is an idiom that means stating a fact or opinion straightforwardly and unequivocally, without hesitation or ambiguity. It implies clear, direct communication without beating around the bush.

Idioms, like no bones about it, involve words and phrases used figuratively, diverging from their literal meanings. We employ idioms to create analogies, infusing informal speech with color and expression, contributing to mastery of the English language’s nuances.

In this article, we explore the idiom’s meaning, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and different ways to use it. After reading the guide, try our fun quiz to test your newly learned knowledge about this idiomatic expression!

What Does the Idiom No Bones About It Mean?

The idiom no bones about it means to be straightforward, clear, or unequivocal about something, leaving no room for doubt or misunderstanding. Less commonly, the idiom can be used to indicate that someone accepts something without objection or complaint.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, make no bones about something means “not to try to hide your feelings.” Moreover, Merriam-Webster defines the idiom as “to be very sure and definite about (something),” while states the idiom means to “act or speak frankly about something, without hesitation or evasion.”

How Is No Bones About It Commonly Used in Context?

No bones about it is commonly used to assert a clear and straightforward statement, leaving no room for doubt or ambiguity.

The following sections will discuss the different ways to use it, where to find examples of its usage, and tips for effectively using the phrase in your speech and writing.

What Are the Different Ways to Use No Bones About It?

Explore different ways to use no bones about it, from expressing confidence to clarifying a point.

  • Express confidence: “I’ll achieve what I want, no bones about it.”
  • Disagreements or debates: “Make no bones about it; this company is on its way out.”
  • Being honest about a situation: “I’ll make no bones about it; I made a mess of the presentation.”
  • Emphasizing a clear decision: “I’ve made my decision and make no bones about it; we’re going to Canada for vacation this year.”
  • Asserting a strong position: “I believe we need to address this issue immediately, no bones about it.”
  • Clarifying a point: “Let me make no bones about it; you can’t be allowed to compromise our employee’s safety.

Where Can You Find Examples of No Bones About It?

No bones about it is regularly used in literature, movies, songs, conversations, and online resources.

Here are some examples of the idiom’s use in online publications:

But let’s make no bones about it, unless we do something to improve this situation then the problem will continue to fester, crushing women’s confidence and our ability to be both caregivers and breadwinners. (The Telegraph)

I’ll make no bones about it; our season has been a failure. (The Irish News)

Jones is keen to stress that this is a new era and that the October defeat has not been mentioned in camp but make no bones about it, Hartley and his predecessor Robshaw will raise it in his pre-match huddle. (The South Wales Argus)

What Are Some Tips for Using No Bones About It Effectively?

Here are some tips to help you use this phrase in your material:

  • Context matters: Use no bones about it when clarity and directness are crucial to convey a straightforward message.
  • Avoid ambiguity: Apply the phrase when you want to eliminate any potential for misunderstanding or confusion in your statement.
  • Be decisive: Employ the idiom when you want to express a strong and unwavering opinion or fact without hesitation.
  • Choose appropriate tone: Consider the tone of the conversation; this idiom works well in casual or formal settings but may be too direct for sensitive situations.
  • Avoid overuse: Reserve the idiom for situations where emphasis on clarity is essential; overusing it may diminish its impact.
  • Pair with clear information: Ensure the information following the idiom is concise and easily understood to reinforce the straightforward message.

Remember, the effectiveness of this idiom lies in its ability to cut through ambiguity and convey a direct message.

What Is the Origin of the Idiom No Bones About It?

No Bones About It Ngram
No bones about it usage trend.

The idiom no bones about it originated in fifteenth-century England, drawing from the experience of finding bones in soup. The presence of bones made the soup challenging to eat, and discovering bones became synonymous with finding something objectionable in a situation. Conversely, if no bones were found, it indicated an absence of objectionable elements in the situation. 

The oldest printed reference to this expression is found in the Paston Letters from 1459.

“And fond that tyme no bonys in the matere.”

The phrase make no bones started appearing in print records in the 16th century. However, the extended form, make no bones about it, was not recorded in prints until after 1885. The origin reflects the idea of something being straightforward and uncomplicated, much like a boneless soup that presents no difficulty in consumption.

How Did the Idiom Evolve Over Time?

Over several centuries, the idiom has evolved to be commonly used in everyday conversation to convey an unambiguous statement of intent.

What Are Some Related Terms to No Bones About It?

Let’s explore related terms that share the essence of clarity and decisiveness in communication, complementing the spirit of no bones about it.


  • No ifs, buts, or maybes
  • Call a spade a spade
  • Tell it like it is
  • Cut to the chase
  • Get straight to the point
  • In all honesty
  • Without a doubt
  • Frankly
  • Plain sailing
  • To be entirely honest


No Bones About It: Test Your Knowledge!

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Let’s Review

In conclusion, no bones about it is a timeless idiom, originating in fifteenth-century England and evolving to convey straightforward messages in various contexts. This comprehensive guide explores its meaning, origin, usage tips, and examples across different media. Test your knowledge with our quiz and embrace the clarity and decisiveness this idiom brings to language.