linen


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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

wash (one's) dirty linen 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 wash his dirty linen 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 wash their dirty linen in public.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash

(one) does not wash (one's) dirty linen in public

One does not discuss very private, personal matters, especially those that 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 do not wash my dirty linen in public, and I wish he wouldn't either! Kids, please don't say anything inappropriate in front of your grandmother—she definitely believes that one does not wash one's dirty linen in public.
See also: dirty, does, linen, not, public, wash

air one's dirty linen in public

 and wash one's dirty linen in public
Fig. to discuss private or embarrassing matters in public, especially when quarreling. (This linen refers to sheets and tablecloths or other soiled cloth.) They are arguing again. Why must they always air their dirty linen in public? She will talk to anyone about her problems. Why does she wash her dirty linen in public?
See also: air, dirty, linen, public

Do not wash your dirty linen in public.

Prov. Do not talk about your private family problems in public. Grandson: How are we going to make Dad stop drinking? Grandmother: Hush! Don't wash your dirty linen in public.
See also: dirty, linen, not, public, wash

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

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
References in classic literature ?
I told my wife several times that it was surprising that linen drapers should live in such houses as those, in houses that had no signs; but she always laughed at me.
On this he gave his orders to the servants, who got the waggon out, harnessed the mules, and put them to, while the girl brought the clothes down from the linen room and placed them on the waggon.
cambric = a fine white linen, originally from Cambray in Flanders}
And there's linen in the house as I could well spare you, for I've got lots o' sheeting and table-clothing, and towelling, as isn't made up.
It's good, quite good, thank you," said the Frenchman, in French, "but there must be some linen left over.
Rosa went down, and immediately after returned with two staves of a small barrel and a large roll of linen bandage.
Twice a week they had to put through hotel linen, - the sheets, pillow-slips, spreads, table- cloths, and napkins.
He set out at once, the man with whom he had made the bet--whose name is not remembered--accompanied by Barham Wise, a linen draper, and Hamerson Burns, a photographer, I think, following in a light cart or wagon.
Karnegie's report, after examining the linen which the so-called "Mrs.
Dunster lay in the midst of all the luxury of fine linen sheets and embroidered pillow-cases.
This," says he, "is to my bankers, the British Linen Company, placing a credit to your name.
Coming back from the doctor to whom Kitty had sent him, Levin, on opening the door, came upon the sick man at the instant when, by Kitty's directions, they were changing his linen.
In her bedroom Saxon completed her dressing, for an instant stepping upon a chair so as to glimpse critically in the small wall-mirror the hang of her ready-made linen skirt.
If the search leads to nothing, I want to be able to account next for all the linen in the house, and for all the linen sent to the wash.
I had a little plate, but not much, and was well enough stocked with clothes and linen.