chest

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keep (something) close to (one's) chest

To keep one's plans, intentions, or tactics secret from everyone else. Refers to holding one's playing cards close to one's chest in a card game, so as not to allow other players to see one's hand. We're all curious about what the boss has been discussing in those meetings with the lawyers, but she's keeping it close to her chest. Sorry for not being more straightforward about my plans, but I'm keeping this one close to the chest for the time being.
See also: chest, close, keep

play (one's) cards close to (one's) chest

To keep one's plans, intentions, or tactics secret from everyone else. Refers to holding one's playing cards close to one's chest in a card game, so as not to allow other players to see one's hand. We're all curious about what the boss has been discussing in those meetings with the lawyers, but she's playing her cards close to her chest. Sorry for not being more straightforward about my plans, but I'm playing my cards close to my chest for the time being.
See also: card, chest, close, play

play (something) close to (one's) chest

To keep one's plans, intentions, or tactics secret from everyone else. Refers to holding one's playing cards close to one's chest in a card game, so as not to allow other players to see one's hand. We're all curious about what the boss has been discussing in those meetings with the lawyers, but she's playing it close to her chest. Sorry for not being more straightforward about my plans, but I'm playing this one close to the chest for the time being.
See also: chest, close, play

hope chest

1. A piece of furniture used to store household items such as clothing and linens. The antique store had a beautiful cedar hope chest that would be a perfect addition to my bedroom furniture.
2. A young woman's collection of household items to use in her home after marriage. Sarah collected linens and sheets for her hope chest in anticipation of her new life as a married woman.
See also: chest, hope

keep (one's) cards close to (one's) chest

To keep one's plans, intentions, or information secret from everyone else. Refers to holding one's playing cards close to one's chest in a game, so as not to allow other players to see one's hand. We're all curious about what the boss has been discussing in those meetings with the lawyers, but she's been keeping her cards close to her chest. Sorry for not being more straightforward about my plans, but I'm keeping my cards close to my chest for the time being.
See also: card, chest, close, keep

put hair on (one's) chest

A humorous phrase said of something very pungent or strong in taste. The idea is that it is so strong that it will "make one a man." These cough drops will put hair on your chest. You'll be cleared up in no time.
See also: chest, hair, on, put

get (something) off (one's) chest

To reveal or discuss something that has caused one emotional discomfort and that one has repressed, kept hidden, or neglected to discuss earlier. I'm sorry but I just have to get something off my chest. How could you treat me like that last night?
See also: chest, get, off

hold (one's) cards close to (one's) chest

To keep one's plans, intentions, or information secret from everyone else. Refers to holding one's playing cards close to one's chest in a game, so as not to allow other players to see one's hand. We're all curious about what the boss has been discussing in those meetings with the lawyers, but she's been holding her cards close to her chest. Sorry for not being more straightforward about my plans, but I'm holding my cards close to my chest for the time being.
See also: card, chest, close, hold

put hairs on (one's) chest

A humorous phrase said of something very pungent or strong in taste, and thus make one stronger or more masculine. A: "These cough drops will clear you right up." B: "Yeah and put my hairs on chest, too! Ugh!" Here, drink this up—it'll put hairs on your chest!
See also: chest, hair, on, put

get something off one's chest

to unburden oneself; to confess something; to criticize or make a personal complaint to someone. You will feel better if you get it off your chest. I have to get this off my chest. I'm tired of your rudeness to me!
See also: chest, get, off

play one's cards close to one's chest

 and play one's cards close to one's vest; keep one's cards close to one's chest; keep one's cards close to one's vest
Fig. to keep to oneself or be very cautious in one's dealing with people. (As if one were playing cards and not permitting anyone to see any of the cards.) He is very cautious. He plays his cards close to his chest. You seem to be playing your cards close to your vest.
See also: card, chest, close, play

put hair on someone's chest

Fig. to do or take something to invigorate or energize someone, always a male, except in jest. Here, have a drink of this stuff! It'll put hair on your chest. That stuff is powerful. It will really put hair on your chest.
See also: chest, hair, on, put

off one's chest, get

Relieve one's mind by confessing or saying something that has been repressed. For example, I've got to get this off my chest-I can't stand his parents, or He admitted taking the dollar and said he was glad to get it off his chest. This expression uses chest for the seat of the emotions. [c. 1900]
See also: get, off

play it close to one's chest

Be secretive or cautious, give nothing away, as in We've no idea how many tickets they sold; they play it close to their chests. This expression, which is also put as play one's cards close to one's chest, alludes to holding one's cards up against one's chest, so that no one else can see them. [Slang; mid-1900s]
See also: chest, close, play

put lead in one's pencil

Enhance or restore sexual vigor, as in Try one of these hot peppers; that'll put lead in your pencil. This phrase, a euphemism for causing an erection, is considered far more vulgar than the contemporary synonym put hair on one's chest, alluding to a secondary male sex characteristic. [Colloquial; c. 1900]
See also: lead, pencil, put

beat your breast

or

beat your chest

COMMON If someone beats their breast or beats their chest, they publicly show regret or anger about something that has happened. At this month's meeting of the party's Central Committee, the party leader beat his breast with ritual self-criticism. Why don't you both stop beating your chests and do something productive? Note: You can describe the action of doing this as breast-beating or chest-beating. His breast-beating on behalf of the working classes always seemed false to me. Note: You usually use these expressions to suggest that the person is not being sincere but is trying to draw attention to himself or herself.
See also: beat, breast

play your cards close to your chest

mainly BRITISH or

play your cards close to the vest

AMERICAN
If you play your cards close to your chest, you do not tell anyone about your plans or thoughts. Williams is playing his cards close to his chest, especially in terms of his driver line-up for next season. He plays his cards very close to the vest, leaving some attorneys with whom he's worked to describe him as secretive and manipulative. Note: You can also say that someone keeps their cards close to their chest or keeps their cards close to the vest. The Prime Minister was said yesterday to be keeping his cards close to his chest after an informal discussion at cabinet on Thursday. Note: Other nouns are sometimes used instead of cards. Taylor kept his thoughts close to his chest, saying only: `I'm not prepared to comment.' I have no inside information — Dave's playing this one close to his chest. The military's playing this whole operation pretty close to the vest — they generally don't like to talk about future operations. Note: This is a reference to card-players holding their cards close to their chest so that nobody else can see them.
See also: card, chest, close, play

get something off your chest

COMMON If you get something off your chest, you talk about a problem that has been worrying you for a long time, and you feel better because of this. My doctor gave me the opportunity to talk and get things off my chest. Sarah certainly seemed as though she had a lot to get off her chest.
See also: chest, get, off, something

put hairs on your chest

If you say that a drink or a type of food will put hairs on your chest, you mean that it is very strong or very good for you. Our parents thought the soup would put hairs on our chests. Note: This expression is used humorously.
See also: chest, hair, on, put

beat your breast

make a great show of sorrow or regret.
See also: beat, breast

keep (or play) your cards close to your chest (or vest)

be extremely secretive and cautious about something. informal
The previous two idioms both refer to a hand of cards in a card game. If you hold all the cards you have a winning hand, while card players who hold their cards close to their bodies ensure that no opponent can look at them.
See also: card, chest, close, keep

get something off your chest

say something that you have wanted to say for a long time, resulting in a feeling of relief. informal
See also: chest, get, off, something

put hair (or hairs) on your chest

(of alcoholic drink) revive your strength. informal
See also: chest, hair, on, put

hope chest

a chest containing linen, clothes, and household items stored by a woman in preparation for her marriage. North American
The British equivalent of this expression is bottom drawer (see drawer).
See also: chest, hope

keep/hold/play your cards ˌclose to your ˈchest

not tell others what you are intending to do: He keeps his cards pretty close to his chest. I don’t know whether he plans to buy the house or not. OPPOSITE: show/reveal your hand
See also: card, chest, close, hold, keep, play

ˌget something off your ˈchest

(informal) say something that you have wanted to say for a long time and feel better because you have done this: If something is worrying you, get it off your chest.
See also: chest, get, off, something

put ˈhairs on your chest

(informal, humorous) (especially of alcoholic drinks) make you feel strong, etc: This Polish vodka will put hairs on your chest.
See also: chest, hair, on, put

take the spear (in one’s chest)

tv. to accept full blame for something; to accept the full brunt of the punishment for something. The admiral got the short straw and had to take the spear in his chest.
See also: chest, spear, take

war chest

n. a political campaign fund. They say the vice president has more than one million dollars in his war chest.
See also: chest, war

get (something) off (one's) chest

To vent one's pent-up feelings.
See also: chest, get, off
References in classic literature ?
I paid my cabman handsomely, gave a florin to the stout fellow in livery whom he helped with the chest, and could have pressed gold upon the genial clerk who laughed like a gentleman at my jokes about the Liverpool winners and the latest betting on the Family Plate.
I thought of the porter's friend who had helped me with the chest.
I'd not have had that sea chest in the house for any money; I'll warrant he'd come racketing after it at nights, and making a haunted house of the inn.
The boatswain died during a storm, so they wrapped him up in a sheet, and put him in his own sea chest, and threw him overboard; but they neglected, in their hurry-skurry, to say prayers over him, and the storm raged and roared louder than ever, and they saw the dead man seated in his chest, with his shroud for a sail, coming hard after the ship, and the sea breaking before him in great sprays like fire; and there they kept scudding day after day and night after night, expecting every moment to go to wreck; and every night they saw the dead boatswain in his sea chest trying to get up with them, and they heard his whistle above the blasts of wind, and he seemed to send great seas, mountain high, after them that would have swamped the ship if they had not put up the deadlights.
There we stood and shrieked with laughter over the gems that were ours, which had been found for /us/ thousands of years ago by the patient delvers in the great hole yonder, and stored for /us/ by Solomon's long-dead overseer, whose name, perchance, was written in the characters stamped on the faded wax that yet adhered to the lids of the chest.
As for the third chest, it was only about a fourth full, but the stones were all picked ones; none less than twenty carats, and some of them as large as pigeon-eggs.
exclaimed Tabitha, adjusting her spectacles, and holding the lamp over the open chest.
said Peter, folding his arms, as he seated himself upon the chest.
Earth was shovelled in and tramped down about the chest until the bottom of the grave showed level and uniform.
Tarzan wondered what the chest they had buried contained.
It ought to be painted," said Johnny Dooit, tossing his tools back into the chest, "for that would make it look prettier.
With this he slammed down the lid of the chest, and the noise made them all wink.
The moon had risen now, so that from the dark shadows of the palisade Muda Saffir and his savages watched the party with Bududreen squatting about the heavy chest, and saw the two who crept toward the house.
Then with the balance of his horde he crept alone in the darkness until opposite Bududreen and the watchers about the chest.
But in the hut her mother was waiting for her return, and as she grew impatient she said to her husband: 'Get out the horses, old man, to go and fetch her home; but see that you are careful not to upset the sledge and lose the chest.