Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

dirty linen

One's personal, intimate, or private matters or secrets, especially that which may be embarrassing if made public. From the expression "don't wash/air your dirty linen in public." Those who consider running for public office must be aware that their dirty linen is likely to be exposed to the public. David is such a gossip, always talking about other people's dirty linen.
See also: dirty, linen

air (one's) dirty laundry in public

To discuss very private, personal matters, especially that which may be embarrassing, in public or with other people. It always makes me uncomfortable when John starts going into all his personal problems whenever our friends get together. I just wish he wouldn't air his dirty laundry in public like that. People have an unnatural fixation on the personal lives of celebrities, but I don't see why they should be expected to air their dirty laundry in public.
See also: air, dirty, laundry, public

laundry list

A very long list of items. I have a laundry list of projects I need to get done before Friday. The senator began the hearing by reading a laundry list of accusations for nearly 30 minutes!
See also: laundry, list

in the laundry

with the clothes that are waiting to be washed. Is my blue shirt clean or is it in the laundry? All my socks are in the laundry. What shall I do?
See also: laundry

someone's dirty laundry

Fig. someone's unpleasant secrets. I don't want to hear about her dirty laundry. Why do you feel it necessary to gossip about things like this?
See also: dirty, laundry

wash your dirty laundry/linen in public

  (British & Australian) also air your dirty laundry/linen in public (American & Australian)
to talk to other people about personal things that you should keep private I was brought up to believe that it was wrong to wash your dirty linen in public.
See play dirty, talk dirty
See also: dirty, laundry, public, wash

a laundry list

  (mainly American)
a long list of subjects (usually + of ) It wasn't much of a speech - just a laundry list of accusations against the government.
See also: laundry, list

wash one's dirty linen in public

Also air one's dirty linen or laundry . Expose private matters to public view, especially unsavory secrets. These metaphors are reworkings of a French proverb, Il faut laver son linge sale en famille ("One should wash one's dirty linen at home"), which was quoted by Napoleon on his return from Elba (1815). It was first recorded in English in 1867.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash

dirty linen

and dirty laundry
n. scandal; unpleasant private matters. I wish you wouldn’t put our dirty linen out for everyone to see. She seems always to drag out her dirty linen whenever possible.
See also: dirty, linen

dirty laundry

See also: dirty, laundry
References in periodicals archive ?
opt for two washing machines over one when: space won't permit two washer extractors; it's tough to work efficiently in a cramped laundry.
Others have passed on over the years, but not before stopping by to say goodbye to this diminutive Armenian woman who touched their lives and shrank their world a little in this self-service laundry.
It's important for all parents and caregivers to practice safe laundry habits by keeping liquid laundry packets in their original container and out of reach of young children.
Discover more about Express Laundry Centers and Continental laundry products at www.
To avoid overreaching when using larger equipment, workers should use a laundry rake with a long handle to pull linens closer to the door.
Super Laundry has opened over 1,000 locations nationwide in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Southern Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
Simply laundry handles all the tedious tasks involved in laundering and dry cleaning, making it as easy and hassle-free for our customers as possible.
Already working with global brands in the UK, Qatar and the UAE in a variety of sectors, NewGen is also counting down to the opening of its new environmentally sustainable laundry in Abu Dhabi in December 2013.
Scrubzz personal concierge helps Chicago residents save time with professional laundry, dry-cleaning and home-cleaning services
has tied-up with Commercial Laundry Systems of the Rockies, in Johnstown, Colo.
com/research/pstczf/global_laundry) has announced the addition of the "Global Laundry Care Market 2015-2019" report to their offering.
com)-- Domestic laundry appliance is a machine or system which is used for washing cloth and clothes sheets.
Bubble Laundry has opened in Abu Dhabi, offering a cost-effective commercial laundry solution for hoteliers.
It is believed that washermen mix the laundry that pass on germs from contaminated clothes to others.