come/crawl out of the woodwork

come out of the woodwork

To appear unexpectedly, or from unexpected places. No one had anything negative to say when I first pitched this idea, but now people are coming out of the woodwork to criticize it. Ever since Liam won the lottery, his so-called relatives have been coming out of the woodwork.
See also: come, of, out, woodwork
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

come out of the woodwork

If people come out of the woodwork they suddenly start publicly talking about something or making claims, when previously they said nothing. People are starting to come out of the woodwork to talk about fraudulent practices in the industry. Note: You can replace come with another verb such as crawl. The worst aspect of their decision for Britain is that it will now bring anti-Europeans crawling out of the woodwork once more. Note: People usually use this expression to show that they disapprove either of the sort of things that people are saying, or of the fact that they have only just started to say these things.
See also: come, of, out, woodwork
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

come/crawl out of the ˈwoodwork

(informal, disapproving) if you say that somebody comes/crawls out of the woodwork, you mean that they have suddenly appeared in order to express an opinion or to take advantage of a situation: When he won the lottery, all sorts of distant relatives came out of the woodwork.
These idioms refer to the fact that insects or small animals, especially unpleasant ones, often hide in holes in wooden parts of a room or building.
See also: come, crawl, of, out, woodwork
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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