cupboard

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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%.
See also: bare, cupboard

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.
See also: cupboard, have

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.
See also: cupboard, skeleton

cupboard love

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.
See also: 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.
See also: bare, cupboard

cupboard love

BRITISH
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.
See also: cupboard, love

a skeleton in the closet

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

a skeleton in the cupboard

BRITISH
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.
See also: closet, skeleton

a skeleton in the cupboard

a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep secret.
A US variant of this expression is a skeleton in the closet .
See also: cupboard, skeleton

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.
See also: bare, cupboard

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.
See also: cupboard, love

a skeleton in the ˈcupboard/ˈcloset

something 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?
References in classic literature ?
The men differ from this view, and declare that I ought to have put back the volume in blue velvet unopened, carefully guarding myself from any after-temptation to look at it again by locking the cupboard door.
I threw the photograph from me into a corner of the cupboard.
All this time the lower shelf of the cupboard was still waiting to be looked over.
I hastily closed the cupboard door, fetched the library ladder, and set it against the book-case.
Tom Kitten did not want to be shut up in a cupboard.
When Nanda had supported Langwidere to a position in front of cupboard No.
She laid two plates, got the bread, the butter, going to and fro quietly between the table and the cupboard in the peace and silence of her home.
She glanced all round the parlour, from the corner cupboard to the good fire in the grate.
He sighs over the contemplation of its poverty, takes a bit of chalk from one of the cupboard shelves, and pauses with it in his hand, uncertain what addition to make to the account.
I think a moderate stroke,' he concludes, 'is all I am justified in scoring up;' so, suits the action to the word, closes the cupboard, and goes to bed.
Before sitting down to it, he opens his corner- cupboard door; takes his bit of chalk from its shelf; adds one thick line to the score, extending from the top of the cupboard door to the bottom; and then falls to with an appetite.
She took a little basket and filled it with bread from the cupboard, laying a white cloth over the top.
I will show you what a good job I did," and she went to a tall cupboard and threw open the doors.
Natural science classrooms with appropriate equipment such as ceiling-mounted media supply, fume cupboards, laboratory sinks and cupboard storage areas in the following areas: 3x chemical classroom, 4x biology classroom, 2x physics classroom equipping of 6 preparation rooms for the above-mentioned specialist classes with appropriate equipment such as fume cupboards, hazardous substance cabinets, small-scale cupboard storage areas, laboratory sinks and work lines.
Be sure to plan these cupboards carefully - you want to ensure shelving levels will suit what the cupboard will be used for.