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Related to skeleton: skeleton key, skull, boilerplate, skeleton dance
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have (a) skeleton(s) in (one's)/the closet
To have (an) embarassing, 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.
have (a) skeleton(s) in (one's)/the cupboard
To have (an) embarassing, 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.
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.
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.
a skeleton in the/somebody's closet
a secret that would cause embarrassment if it were known People almost always have skeletons in their closets, parts of their lives they don't want to reveal.
a skeleton in the/your cupboard(British & Australian) also a skeleton in the/your closet (American)
an embarrassing secret If you want to be a successful politician, you can't afford to have too many skeletons in your cupboard.
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]
skeleton in (one's) closet
A source of shame or disgrace, as in a family, that is kept secret.
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.