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I cannot find a satisfactory definition for the phrase:

"Too true, too true!"

Can anybody help?

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    There's a difference between 'too true' and 'very true'. Take a note! – Maulik V Mar 23 '15 at 12:44
  • @MaulikV: Actually, there isn't. If you take it literally there would be, but nobody says this literally! – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 23 '15 at 15:57
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    @Harry: You tagged this question "meaning in context", but did not provide any context. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 23 '15 at 15:59
  • Best interpreted as "More true than I wish it were" – Shadur Mar 23 '15 at 18:11
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit You think so? I would not use them in the same way. – Kyle Strand Mar 23 '15 at 19:53
31

Too true is a response to being reminded of a distressing fact: it acknowledges the truth of the other person's observation while wishing that it were not true. The fact is truer than I like, hence too true.

  • Thanks, StoneyB! By far the best explanation that I got so far. In fact, you have ended my quest. – Harry de Vries Mar 23 '15 at 13:39
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    I don't agree with this. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 23 '15 at 15:57
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    In some contexts, maybe. Without any context, I would assume this shouldn't be taken literally, and means the same thing as "very true" or "yeah, good point". – Tim S. Mar 23 '15 at 16:08
  • @TimS. and Lightness: I don't think I've ever seen "too true" used in any other way than this; in particular, I don't think I've seen it treated as merely synonymous with "very true." Perhaps you should re-evaluate your impressions of the phrase, or at least provide some examples of the phrase being used in the looser/milder way? – Kyle Strand Mar 23 '15 at 19:55
  • My initial reaction upon reading the title was that someone was speaking the phrase with slight chagrin. – Jason Mar 23 '15 at 21:30
5

"Too true, too true" is a colloquialism that means "yeah, good point".

One might argue it's "too true" (a colloquial British corruption of simply "true") repeated for poetry.

If one were to take it literally, then it might imply that the subject is truer than desired, but this is not a phrase that gets used literally.

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    I have to disagree. I use this phrase in the literal sense quite often, and so do others I know. While it may not be used in the literal sense everywhere, I believe the literal usage is the correct (i.e. conventional) one, and that non-literal usage would be colloquial. – John Doucette Mar 23 '15 at 17:42
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit UrbanDictionary seems...well, suspect, as a source for examples, and even there the "homework" example fits StoneyB's meaning better than it fits the "synonymous with 'very'" meaning. (And if I saw the "hot girl" example in real life, rather than as a contrived example for UD, I'd assume the speaker used "too" as an indication that, regrettably, he considers the girl in question to be "out of his league".) I was expecting something out of, say, a British novel or TV show, since you indicate that your usage may be chiefly British; have anything like that? – Kyle Strand Mar 23 '15 at 21:38
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    @Kyle: That is hardly evidence of current usage. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 23 '15 at 21:52
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    @Kyle: That's not a shift from my initial position, though I concede my initial position was ambiguously presented: I was talking about real, live communication between two people, not including historical works of fiction. In that vein I still stand by it: I never have heard this phrase used literally, and would be extremely surprised to do so, in the UK, so much so that I very much doubt it is used as such in communication. Of course I can't guarantee that: no-one can! – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 23 '15 at 22:12

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