wash (one's) dirty linen in public

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wash (one's) dirty linen in public

To discuss very private, personal matters, especially that which may be sensitive or embarrassing, in public or with other people. It always makes me uncomfortable when John starts going into all his personal problems whenever our friends get together. I just wish he wouldn't wash his dirty linen in public like that. People have an unnatural fixation on the personal lives of celebrities, but I don't see why they should be expected to wash their dirty linen in public.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

wash one's dirty linen in public

Also air one's dirty linen or laundry . Expose private matters to public view, especially unsavory secrets. These metaphors are reworkings of a French proverb, Il faut laver son linge sale en famille ("One should wash one's dirty linen at home"), which was quoted by Napoleon on his return from Elba (1815). It was first recorded in English in 1867.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

wash your dirty linen in public

mainly BRITISH or

wash your dirty laundry in public

mainly BRITISH or

air your dirty linen in public

mainly AMERICAN or

air your dirty laundry in public

mainly AMERICAN
COMMON If someone washes their dirty linen in public or washes their dirty laundry in public, they talk publicly about unpleasant matters that should be private. We shouldn't wash our dirty laundry in public and if I was in his position, I'd say nothing at all. She thinks she can score points by airing the family's dirty linen in public. Note: There are many other variations of this expression. For example, you can leave out `in public' or `dirty'. In Spain, it seems, airing dirty linen is considered more serious than any offence itself. My brother has washed that linen in public and embarrassed me. Note: You can also just talk about dirty linen or dirty laundry to mean unpleasant facts that should remain private. We know much more than we ever did before about the doings of Congressmen. So, we're seeing more dirty laundry. It is certainly a huge disadvantage of being famous that everyone wants to see your dirty linen.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

wash your dirty linen in public

discuss or argue about your personal affairs in public.
This expression dates from the early 19th century in English; a similar French expression about linge sale is attributed to Napoleon.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

wash your dirty linen in ˈpublic

(British English, disapproving) talk or write about unpleasant or embarrassing private difficulties in public: Nobody must mention these problems at the meeting. I don’t want our dirty linen washed in public.
In this idiom, linen refers to clothes, especially underwear.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

wash one's dirty linen in public, to

To expose one’s private affairs in public, particularly any unsavory family secrets. This metaphor is a French proverb that became famous when Napoleon used it in a speech before the French Assembly upon his return from exile in Elba in 1815. It was picked up by numerous English writers, among them Trollope, who wrote (The Last Chronicle of Barset, 1867), “There is nothing, I think, so bad as washing one’s dirty linen in public.”
See also: dirty, linen, to, wash
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
It was also an embarrassing situation for the lawmakers since what transpired was akin to washing dirty linen in public.
The Jubilee Party has only had two parliamentary group meetings since the 2017 polls and it's time the President called one to iron out the issues bringing his house down, instead of washing dirty linen in public.
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - December 26, 2018 - 12:00am As part of this corner's year-ender, I did a random survey on who are the Top 3 Role-Model Moms in showbiz, based on these criteria: wholesome image (meaning, untainted by neither controversy nor scandal), respect for spouse (especially on social media) and not washing dirty linen in public.
Discussing party's matter on the public forums is like washing dirty linen in public.
Even parties like the incumbent federal powers who have a knack of avoiding washing dirty linen in public have been unable to contain their issues.
Long, long before you turned queen et all but your current run across the airwaves regurgitating personal details of your love life over & over again, washing dirty linen in public & more so as part of a professional PR campaign before your film release is in bad taste.
Which goes to prove that the Joint Opposition is a washing machine, doing nothing but washing dirty linen in public while carrying all the filth and muck on their heads like the proverbial prawn.
The official specifically cited the open competition seen from the ongoing electoral campaigns within the republican party and democrats in the united states as washing dirty linen in public to select the best candidate as an example of flourishing democracy.
RESPECTED soothsayers would always warn about the pitfalls of washing dirty linen in public.
There can be no justification for washing dirty linen in public, more so by the captain, though in this instance there is little evidence to suggest any dirt in the first place.
I don't like washing dirty linen in public, we will keep it between ourselves and look for a response from the riders on Friday - they know I'm not happy and the supporters aren't happy.
Among the intersections of person and topic are Zoe Wicomb on washing dirty linen in public, Don Foster proclaiming that even bodies never speak pure languages, and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizele and Chris van der Merwe on a better past.
There's good competition on the field but I don't have a habit of washing dirty linen away from the field or in public, but I like that name!"
NEW Labour really have a penchant for washing dirty linen in public.