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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.
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.
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!
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?
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
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.
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.
dirty linenand 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 dirty linen