let the cat out of the bag


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to let the cat out of the bag: Truth will out

let the cat out of the bag

To reveal a secret. How did Mom find out we were planning a surprise party for her? Who let the cat out of the bag?
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the cat out of the bag

Fig. to reveal a secret or a surprise by accident. When Bill glanced at the door, he let the cat out of the bag. We knew then that he was expecting someone to arrive. It's a secret. Try not to let the cat out of the bag.
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the cat out of the bag

Give away a secret, as in Mom let the cat out of the bag and told us Karen was engaged. This expression alludes to the dishonest practice of a merchant substituting a worthless cat for a valuable pig, which is discovered only when the buyer gets home and opens the bag. [Mid-1700s] Also see pig in a poke.
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the cat out of the bag

If you let the cat out of the bag, you reveal something secret or private, often without meaning to. `The Mosses didn't tell the cops my name, did they?' `Of course not,' she said. `They wouldn't want to let the cat out of the bag.' She'd known she was taking a risk in letting the cat out of the bag about Jacobs. Note: You can say that the cat is out of the bag when a secret has been revealed. The cat was well and truly out of the bag. The biggest scandal for years was about to overtake the government. Note: This expression may have its origin in an old trick where one person pretended to sell a piglet in a bag to another, although the bag really contained a cat. If the cat was let out of the bag, then the trick would be exposed.
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the cat out of the bag

reveal a secret, especially carelessly or by mistake.
A similar metaphorical use of bag may be found in the French phrase vider le sac , literally ‘empty the bag’, meaning ‘tell the whole story’.
1996 Bernard Connolly The Rotten Heart of Europe Tim Renton …at odds with his leader on Europe, let the cat out of the bag when he told a television audience, ‘we need a strong Europe to maintain our independence from the United States and the Pacific Rim’.
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the ˈcat out of the bag

(informal) make known a secret, usually without realizing what you are doing: ‘Who let the cat out of the bag?’ ‘I’m afraid I did. I thought everybody already knew.’Nobody knew she had been offered the job until her husband let the cat out of the bag. OPPOSITE: keep something under your hat
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the cat out of the bag

To let a secret be known.
See also: bag, cat, let, of, out

let the cat out of the bag, to

To give away a secret. This expression dates from an ancient practice of substituting a worthless cat for a valuable suckling pig by a dishonest tradesman in a farmer’s market. When the hapless buyer got home and opened the bag, the cat was revealed. See also pig in a poke.
See also: cat, let, of, out
References in periodicals archive ?
In doing so, the Court questioned the validity of Seibert's waiver, questioning whether it was made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently when Miranda was presented to her after she already had "let the cat out of the bag." After all, could she truly appreciate the fact that the protections afforded to her by Miranda, albeit midstream, provided her with the opportunity to invoke either or both of her rights to silence and to counsel?
MacLeod also let the cat out of the bag on another major project that will have fans of the show tingling.
We asked where the phrase "to let the cat out of the bag" came from.
Mamba of Swaziland may have unintentionally let the cat out of the bag on that occasion, declaring that the treaty represented a major effort to achieve a 'just and equitable international economic order."
Now David Schwimmer may have let the cat out of the bag by mentioning that he and Jennifer Aniston may make a guest visit on co-star Matt LeBlanc's planned spin-off series, Joey.
When I returned it was time to let the cat out of the bag.
Full browser ?