cupboard


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Related to cupboard: cupboard love, cabinet, stove, IKEA

cupboard is bare

1. Literally, there is no or very little food in the house. Often pluralized. I wish I had something to offer you to eat, but we haven't done our grocery shopping this week, and I'm afraid the cupboards are bare.
2. By extension, resources—especially money—are very tight or nonexistent. Often pluralized. The government has promised to help alleviate the strain on those out of work, but I don't know how it will accomplish that when its own cupboards are bare. The school district's cupboard is bare after federal funding was cut by 20%.
See also: bare, cupboard

have (a) skeleton(s) in (one's)/the cupboard

To have (an) embarrassing, unpleasant, damaging, or incriminating secret(s) from one's past. Primarily heard in UK. Even the most seemingly perfect people have some pretty shocking skeletons in their cupboards. She has a skeleton in her cupboard that could ruin her chance at being elected if the press were to find out about it. My agoraphobia has always been something of a skeleton in the cupboard for me.
See also: cupboard, have

skeleton in the/(one's) cupboard

An embarrassing or shameful secret. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. If you've got a skeleton in the cupboard, it will probably be exposed during this campaign. He didn't believe me when I said that I didn't have any skeletons in my cupboard.
See also: cupboard, skeleton

cupboard love

Love that is ultimately motivated by greed. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Ever since I won the lottery, I worry that any woman who expresses a romantic interest in me will just be a case of cupboard love.
See also: cupboard, love

cupboard is bare, the

The desired resources are not available, as in The schools are asking for a budget increase but the cupboard is bare. This metaphoric expression may have come from the nursery rhyme: "Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone, And when she went there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none" (Sarah Catherine Martin, The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard, 1805).
See also: cupboard

the cupboard is bare

If the cupboard is bare, everything has been used and there is nothing available. The cost of supporting these countries means that the international community's cupboard is bare.
See also: bare, cupboard

cupboard love

BRITISH
You use cupboard love to mean the insincere affection that children or animals show to someone who they think will give them what they want. My kids give me such a lovely welcome when they see me, I don't care if it is cupboard love. Note: The idea here is that cupboards often contain food or something else that a child or animal might want to have.
See also: cupboard, love

a skeleton in the closet

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

a skeleton in the cupboard

BRITISH
COMMON If someone has a skeleton in the closet or a skeleton in the cupboard, they have a secret that would cause great embarrassment or shame if other people knew about it. But everybody's got vices, haven't they? There's always a skeleton in the closet somewhere. Note: This expression is variable. Show me somebody with no skeletons in their cupboard, and I'll show you a skilful liar.
See also: closet, skeleton

a skeleton in the cupboard

a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep secret.
A US variant of this expression is a skeleton in the closet .
See also: cupboard, skeleton

the ˌcupboard is ˈbare

(British English) used to say that there is no money for something: They are seeking more funds but the cupboard is bare.This expression refers to a children’s nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard, who had nothing in her cupboard to feed her dog.
See also: bare, cupboard

ˈcupboard love

(British English) affection that somebody shows towards somebody else in order to get something: The cat seems especially fond of her, but it’s just cupboard love. She’s the one who feeds him.
Cupboard here refers to food, which is kept in a cupboard, so this idiom originally meant showing love to somebody in order to get food.
See also: cupboard, love

a skeleton in the ˈcupboard/ˈcloset

something shocking, embarrassing, etc. that has happened to you or your family in the past that you want to keep secret: The new presidential candidate is certainly popular, but does he have any skeletons in the closet?
References in classic literature ?
They poked under the beds with Ribby's umbrella, and they rummaged in cupboards.
Poyser gave her approbation to the scheme of the movable kitchen cupboard, which was to be capable of containing grocery, pickles, crockery, and house-linen in the utmost compactness without confusion.
She had got one of the cupboards open, and stood with her back to him, smoothing down a sheet of brown paper on one of the shelves, and whispering to herself "So, so
I had just taken the paper; and was locking the cupboard, when the young man seized me.
Turning to the lower division of the cupboard, I found more costly curiosities in the shape of ivory carvings from Japan and specimens of rare silk from China.
One key unlocked all the velvet cupboards containing these treasures--a curious key carved from a single blood-red ruby--and this was fastened to a strong but slender chain which the Princess wore around her left wrist.
He sighs over the contemplation of its poverty, takes a bit of chalk from one of the cupboard shelves, and pauses with it in his hand, uncertain what addition to make to the account.
Mrs Verloc turned slowly towards the cupboard, saying with deliberation:
They looked under the mat; they looked under all the carpets; they looked in all the cupboards and drawers and lockers--in the big chests in the ship's dining-room; they looked everywhere.
First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs.
Yes, yes, father, tell me where it is," and he opened two or three cupboards.
The door of one of the cupboards in the sideboard was half open.
There were bundles of labels, cupboards, and drawers with compartments, and wire guards for the cupboards, to allow free access to the air whilst keeping out slugs, mice, dormice, and rats, all of them very curious fanciers of tulips at two thousand francs a bulb.
As he did not, however, outwardly express any such disgust, it would be an ill office in us to pay a visit to the inmost recesses of his mind, as some scandalous people search into the most secret affairs of their friends, and often pry into their closets and cupboards, only to discover their poverty and meanness to the world.
There were no proper cupboards for their clothes; what cupboards there were either would not close at all, or burst open whenever anyone passed by them.