Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to cupboard: cupboard love, cabinet, stove, IKEA
cupboard is bare
1. Literally, there is no or very little food in the house. Often pluralized. I wish I had something to offer you to eat, but we haven't done our grocery shopping this week, and I'm afraid the cupboards are bare.
2. By extension, resources—especially money—are very tight or nonexistent. Often pluralized. The government has promised to help alleviate the strain on those out of work, but I don't know how it will accomplish that when its own cupboards are bare. The school district's cupboard is bare after federal funding was cut by 20%.
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.
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.
Love that is ultimately motivated by greed. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Ever since I won the lottery, I worry that any woman who expresses a romantic interest in me will just be a case of cupboard love.
cupboard is bare, the
The desired resources are not available, as in The schools are asking for a budget increase but the cupboard is bare. This metaphoric expression may have come from the nursery rhyme: "Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone, And when she went there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none" (Sarah Catherine Martin, The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard, 1805).
See also: cupboard
the cupboard is bare
If the cupboard is bare, everything has been used and there is nothing available. The cost of supporting these countries means that the international community's cupboard is bare.
You use cupboard love to mean the insincere affection that children or animals show to someone who they think will give them what they want. My kids give me such a lovely welcome when they see me, I don't care if it is cupboard love. Note: The idea here is that cupboards often contain food or something else that a child or animal might want to have.
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.
a skeleton in the cupboarda discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep secret.
A US variant of this expression is a skeleton in the closet .
the ˌcupboard is ˈbare(British English) used to say that there is no money for something: They are seeking more funds but the cupboard is bare.This expression refers to a children’s nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard, who had nothing in her cupboard to feed her dog.
ˈcupboard love(British English) affection that somebody shows towards somebody else in order to get something: The cat seems especially fond of her, but it’s just cupboard love. She’s the one who feeds him.
Cupboard here refers to food, which is kept in a cupboard, so this idiom originally meant showing love to somebody in order to get food.