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 ?
I discovered that the Mexican printer Jose Guadalupe Posada's (1851-1913) numerous prints of calaveras gave vast popularity to these skeleton figures through his satirical and politically critical renditions of skeletons engaged in daily activities.
These skeletons were found during the digging for construction of a residential complex behind the 'Kamakhya Devi (goddess)' temple within its premises.
With more than 170 skeletons unearthed so far, the cemetery is one of the richest and best-preserved sources of Holocene remains ever discovered in the region.
Along the bridge Saturday, dozens of artisans hawked their wares, from stone jewelry to paintings and ceramic sculptures of perhaps the most recognized Western symbol of the holiday: the skeleton, or ``muerto,'' often mockingly dressed as the living.
Carbonate ions are abundant in most surface waters, and corals and some free-swimming organisms use the material to form their calcium carbonate skeletons or shells, says Richard A.
At Kennewick, Chatters and Johnson recovered an almost complete skeleton in good condition.
Each stop on the tour requires the tedious, bone-by-bone assembly and dismantling of the skeletons by a skilled group of scientists from the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Science.
The police officials claimed that in this latest digging operation, 25 to 30 skeletons were recovered while the number of bones outnumbered the skeletons.
After the skeletons are cut out and assembled, they are manipulated to show various positions--get ready for some laughs and interesting comments
on Halloween on HGTV, features skeletons galore: singing skeletons, skeletons putting on a puppet show, skeletons on rides, skeletons selling ``rotten'' candy, a skeleton band - even skeletons putting on fireworks gone bad.
WELSH medical students may soon be without human skeletons to study now that imported supplies have been cut off.
More than a century ago, amateur archaeologists uncovered the skeletons of six people, along with various ceremonial items, inside an Italian cave called Barma Grande.
As Hickel recalls, ILM's technical animators used Softimage 3D to build skeletons, determining how the mechanical parts would work.
THOUSANDS of skeletons in the Museum of London's collection could be reburied, it has emerged.
Just a kid, he would get a lasting impression of one group of parade participants called the Skeletons.