skeleton


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

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

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 crew

The bare minimum amount of employees necessary to keep an office, business, service, etc., running at a basic level. We can't have a restaurant that is completely closed during the slow season, so we keep a skeleton crew on board to serve the few customers who decide to come in. The rigs will have a skeleton crew keeping them running until the company finishes handing over its business to the new owners.
See also: crew, skeleton

skeleton in the/(one's) closet

An embarrassing or shameful secret. Primarily heard in US. If you've got a skeleton in the closet, 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 closet.
See also: closet, skeleton

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

skeleton at the feast

One whose pessimistic outlook or behavior dampens the mood at a happy event. Don't invite Chris to your engagement party—he's always so gloomy and will just be a skeleton at the feast.
See also: feast, skeleton

skeleton(s) in the closet

a hidden and shocking secret. You can ask anyone about how reliable I am. I don't mind. I don't have any skeletons in the closet. My uncle was in jail for a day once. That's our family's skeleton in the closet.
See also: closet, skeleton

skeleton in the closet

A shameful secret, as in Both her parents were alcoholics; that was the skeleton in her closet. This metaphoric term alludes to a murder victim long concealed in a closet, possibly based on some true incident that is now forgotten. [Early 1800s]
See also: closet, skeleton

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

a skeleton ˈcrew/ˈstaff/ˈservice

the minimum number of staff necessary to run an organization or service: At weekends we have a skeleton staff to deal with emergencies.
See also: crew, service, skeleton, staff

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?

skeleton in (one's) closet

A source of shame or disgrace, as in a family, that is kept secret.
See also: closet, skeleton

skeleton in the closet

A hidden shame. As if hiding a murder victim or another object that would cause great distress to the hider if found, to have a skeleton in the closet is to have a secret of any sort that you don't want revealed.
See also: closet, skeleton
References in periodicals archive ?
Yun said PyeongChang is just a start and aims to grab the gold at Beijing 2022 to become the first skeleton slider ever to win two consecutive gold medals at the Winter Games.
To get the skeleton out of the limestone was not easy.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada.
The police said that deceased Imran Ahmed entered in crop to consume heroine but he died there and when the crop was harvested, his skeleton was recovered.
BONE IDOL Rupert van der Werff puts together the mammoth skeleton
In 1914, a less complete skeleton was sold by Rowland Ward to Cardiff Museum for PS350.
Since the skeleton was buried so deep in the earth, the transfer team had great difficulty in moving it," Farahi said.
Consequently, the fashion for skeleton clocks was a shot in the arm for the ailing British industry in the third quarter of the 19th century Clocks whose works were at least partly visible had been around since about 1750.
OVER 25 sacks of skeletons of more than 100 people have been found in a locked room on the police line premises in Unnao, which is barely 60 kilometres from Lucknow.
For 2015, with the Excalibur Spider collection, the manufacture takes the skeleton theme beyond the movement alone, extending it to encompass a skeletonised case, flange and hands.
A skeleton was discovered which archaeologists and historians at the National Horseracing Museum said was the skeleton of Doctor Syntax, a 19th century stallion that won 36 races in a span of 9 years between 1814 and 1823.
We have a skeleton in our department; we call it "George.
The ceremony took place more than a year after the US handed back the first remains of a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton to the Mongolian government.
The ceremony took place more than a year after the United States handed back the first remains of a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton to the Mongolian government.
TEHRAN (FNA)- After 13 years of meticulous excavation of the nearly complete skeleton of the Australopithecus fossil named Little Foot, South African and French scientists have now convincingly shown that it is probably around 3 million years old.