Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
The figurative place where one hides one's practice of Wicca or other Pagan religious beliefs or activities from other people, likened to a homosexual person being "in the closet" when they have not publicly revealed their sexual orientation. "Broom" is a reference to the stereotypical accessory of witches. I had been studying the intricacies of real witchcraft for several years before I came out of the broom closet to my parents.
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.
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.
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.
closet (someone/oneself) with (someone)
To sequester someone or oneself with someone else in order to accomplish something. If we can just closet one party with the other, I think they will finally reach an agreement.
See also: closet
1. To exit a particular place. Please come out of your room and talk with me. Will a car be waiting for us when we come out of the party?
2. To be blurted out; to be said unexpectedly or unintentionally. I didn't mean to insult her hairdo, it just came out!
3. To be rendered in a particular way, often a way that was not intended. I didn't mean to insult her hairdo, but everything I said just came out wrong. I double checked my typing, but the text still came out all garbled. There must be a problem with the interface.
4. To be revealed or exposed. When will the truth finally come out?
5. To become visible. After so much rain, I was thrilled when the sun finally came out.
6. To be removed or washed away. I hope this stain comes out in the wash.
7. To have a particular result or level of quality; to turn out. How did your project come out? For my first try at baking, these cookies came out pretty good!
8. To equal a monetary amount. What do all of your medical bills come out to?
9. To be made available to the public; to be officially released. I'm so excited that my favorite author has a new book coming out in a few weeks.
10. To make one's formal debut in society, as of a debutante. Will your daughter come out at the Debutante Ball this year?
11. To reveal a personal secret, typically one's homosexuality, after having kept it hidden. Once you come out to your parents, you will be very relieved.
12. To make a stance public. The senator, long undecided, has finally come out in support of the bill.
13. To join one's friends in public socializing. Jen and Dean never come out anymore now that they have kids.
come out of the closet
1. To reveal one's homosexuality after having kept it hidden. Once you come out of the closet, you will feel so relieved.
2. To publicly reveal a secret. After months of tabloid speculation, the young starlet has finally come out of the closet and confirmed her divorce.
Fibber McGee's closet
A complete and total mess. Fibber McGee was the titular character in The Fibber McGee and Molly radio show that aired in the mid-20th century. The state of his closet was a running gag known to produce a noisy avalanche of items. Good luck finding anything in the pantry—it's like Fibber McGee's closet right now.
out of the closet
1. No longer a secret. Even though the designs for their newest smartphone are out of the closet, Sony are still refusing to comment publicly about it.
2. Public and open about one's homosexuality. I came out of the closet when I was in high school, and while it was certainly hard to do, it's been wonderful having the support of my friends and family for my entire adult life. You have to understand that being out of the closet back then meant you were risking your career,, your freedom—maybe even your life, in certain parts of the country.
closet someone with someone
to put someone into a private room with someone else for the purposes of conducting business. She closeted herself with the president and finally, once and for all, had her say.
See also: closet
1. Lit to exit; to leave the inside of a place. Please come out. We have to leave. When do you think they will all come out?
2. Fig. to result; to succeed; to happen. I hope everything comes out fine. It will come out okay. Don't worry.
3. Fig. to come before the public; [for a book] to be published; [for a report] to be made public. A new magazine has just come out. When will your next book come out?
4. Fig. to become visible or evident. His pride came out in his refusal to accept help. The real reason finally came out, and it was not flattering.
5. Fig. [for a young woman] to make a social debut. (Now only done in certain U.S. regions.) Does your daughter plan to come out this year?
6. Fig. to reveal one's homosexuality. (See also out of the closet.) Herbie finally came out when he was forty-five.
(of someone or something) to emerge from someone or something. Did that pile of books really come out of just one office? The lion came out of its den.
come out(of something)
1. and come out from something Lit. to exit from something. When will they come out of that meeting? The people came out from the houses and celebrated.
2. Fig. to result from something. Nothing at all came out of our discussions.
*out of the closet
1. Fig. revealing one's secret interests. (*Typically: be ~; Come ~; get ~.) Tom Brown came out of the closet and admitted that he likes to knit. It's time that all of you lovers of chamber music came out of the closet and attended our concerts.
2. Fig. revealing that one is homosexual. (*Typically: be ~; Come ~; bring someone ~.) Tom surprised his parents when he came out of the closet. It was difficult for him to be out of the closet.
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.
1. Become known, be discovered, as in The whole story came out at the trial. [c. 1200]
2. Be issued or brought out, as in My new book is coming out this month. [Late 1500s]
3. Make a formal debut in society or on the stage, as in In New York, debutantes come out in winter. [Late 1700s]
4. End up, result, as in Everything came out wrong. [Mid-1800s] Also see come out ahead.
5. come out for or against . Declare oneself publicly in favor of or opposed to someone or something, as in The governor came out for a tax cut, or Many senators came out against the bill. [Late 1800s]
6. Also, come out of the closet. Reveal that one is homosexual, as in The military has specific policies regarding soldiers who come out of the closet while enlisted . [Mid-1900s] Also see the subsequent entries beginning with come out.
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]
come out of the closet
1. If someone comes out of the closet, they tell people for the first time that they are gay. She felt that if she came out of the closet as a lesbian, she would be discriminated against. Note: People usually talk about homosexuals coming out, rather than coming out of the closet. I came out when I was still in my teens. Note: Closet is also used in other structures and expressions with a similar or opposite meaning. For example, if you talk about someone being forced back into the closet, you mean that they are being forced again to hide the fact that they are gay. The HIV Aids crisis threatened to push us all back into the closet. Note: You can also use closet before a noun in order to describe a person who hides the fact that they are gay. He was exposed as a closet homosexual. Note: `Out of the closet' was a slogan used by the Gay Liberation Front in the United States in the late 1960s.
2. If someone comes out of the closet, they talk openly about a belief or habit which they have kept secret until now. I suppose it's time I came out of the closet and admitted I'm a Labour supporter. Note: You can also use closet before a noun in order to describe a person who hides their beliefs, feelings, or habits. I'm really a closet greenie who likes to live close to nature.
3. When a subject comes out of the closet, it becomes widely known or openly discussed for the first time. `Prostate cancer came out of the closet,' he adds, `and men started to join self-help groups to talk openly about prostate problems.' Note: You can also say that you bring something out of the closet. The subject needs to be brought out of the closet and dealt with honestly.
a skeleton in the closetBRITISH, AMERICAN or
a skeleton in the cupboardBRITISH
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.
out of the closetout into the open. informal
Closet , the normal North American term for ‘cupboard’ or ‘wardrobe’, is used in the Bible to typify privacy and seclusion (for example in Luke 12:3: ‘that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops’). Come out of the closet means ‘cease hiding a secret about yourself’ or ‘make public your intentions’. It is now most commonly, though not always, used in connection with someone making their homosexuality public.
1998 Spectator The Prime Minister's entourage could not conceal its glee at the results of their boss coming out of the closet.
come out of the ˈclosetadmit something openly that you kept secret before, especially because of shame or embarrassment: Homosexuals in public life are now coming out of the closet.
a skeleton in the ˈcupboard/ˈclosetsomething 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?
1. To leave some enclosed space: The dog went into the shed, but he won't come out.
2. To go and spend time outside of where one lives: Every summer we come out to the country to get fresh air. Why don't you come out with us after work and see the play?
3. To appear or come into view: Look, the stars are coming out!
4. To have a visibly successful outcome: None of my photographs of the UFO came out.
5. To become known: The whole story came out at the trial.
6. To be issued or brought out: The author's new book just came out.
7. To declare oneself publicly: The governor came out in favor of tax breaks.
8. To reveal that one is a gay man, a lesbian, or a bisexual: The celebrity came out on national television.
9. To make a formal social debut: She came out at age 18 in New York City.
10. To end up in some state; result in being something: I hope everything comes out well. My painting came out a big mess.
11. come out to To result in some total amount; sum up to some amount: The bill for the dinner comes out to $15 per person.
12. come out with To offer something new for sale: The band is coming out with a new record next week.
mod. secret; concealed. (see also come out of the closet.) Marty is a closet chocolate fiend.
come out of the closet
in. to appear publicly as a homosexual; to cease concealing one’s homosexuality. (The phrase has many nonsexual metaphorical meanings.) They say he came out of the closet when he was eight years old.
n. a shower (bath). P.U. Willy. You need a trip to the rain closet.
skeleton in (one's) closet
A source of shame or disgrace, as in a family, that is kept secret.
Fibber McGee's closet
A mess. The Fibber McGee and Molly radio show chronicled the title characters' lives through the Depression and beyond (the show ran from 1935 to 1959). The gentle family-friendly humor came from Fibber McGee's hatching far-fetched get-rich schemes that never materialized, not to the surprise of his long-suffering but supportive wife Molly. The McGees's house was noted for its overstuffed closet. Audiences eagerly awaited someone, usually Fibber himself, to open its door, whereupon the sound of a landslide of glassware and other breakables filled the airwaves. The noise went on for what seemed an eternity, followed by a brief moment of silence, and then the sound of one final item (portrayed by one chime of a hand bell) and McGee's resolution to straighten the closet “one of these days.” “Fibber McGee's closet” entered the language as a metaphor for any example of domestic disarray, especially in a basement, attic, or—of course—a closet
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.