skeleton in the closet, the

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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

skeleton in the closet, the

A shameful secret. This term likens a family secret to a murder victim hidden away in a closet or cupboard. If it ever was based on such an incident, the history has been lost. In any event, the metaphor became current in the early nineteenth century. Thackeray used it in several novels, as did Dickens, George Meredith, and other nineteenth-century British writers, and it remains current.
See also: 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 ?
She has feet of clay and skeletons in the closet. A mini-me version of monster Harvey Weinstei...
Duterte will declare a revolutionary government to clean the mess of his kin and friends, police killings and other skeletons in the closet, and maybe to continue his rule like how Marcos declared martial law to perpetuate his power.
Given the nature of the current political campaigns, skeletons in the closet seem like the most appropriate place to begin.
"To add to his woes he keeps finding skeletons in the closet from two or three years ago.
'If you do have any skeletons in the closet, let them out yourself, don't let someone else do
Skeletons in the closet, skeletons in the ground; repression, victimization and humiliation in a small Andalusian town; the human consequences of the Spanish Civil War.
History Cold Case (BBC Two, 9pm) WE'VE all heard the phrase 'skeletons in the closet' - but for those working in the forensics team at the heart of this insightful documentary, never has it rung more true.
History Cold Case BBC2, 9pm Now we've all heard of the phrase 'skeletons in the closet' - it will mean more for some than to others - but for the forensics team at the centre of this insightful documentary, never has it rung more true.
The skeletons in the closet remain there after the residents move.
Skeletons in the Closet: Stories from the County Morgue covers puzzling forensic mysteries culled from a range of co-author Stephen Cohle's cases as medical examiner for Kent County, Michigan: his accounts will appeal to a broad audience, from health and criminal justice studies college-level libraries to public lending libraries.
Skeletons in the closet; stories from the county morgue.
As Melody attempts to adapt to her new life, she starts to discover that there are more than a few skeletons in the closet and has to face up to the secrets she's tried to bury in her own past.
However, the research showed some companies still have some "skeletons in the closet," with 12 per cent of city companies willing to do business with organisations which invest in oppressive regimes and 8 per cent willing to profiteer from the use of child labour in the production of goods and services.
DJ Sara Cox has just as many skeletons in the closet as her listeners - but by far the funniest is her minor role in The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock and Roll Star.
Called Skeletons In the Closet, it is housed in the Los Angeles Coroner's Department and there customers can buy morbid items that range from natty $14 knickers, emblazoned with a dead body chalk outline, to toe tag key chains at $5 apiece.