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something nasty in the woodshed

a shocking or distasteful thing kept secret. British informal
This expression is taken from Stella Gibbons 's comic novel Cold Comfort Farm ( 1933 ), in which Aunt Ada Doom's dominance over her family is maintained by constant references to her having seen something nasty in the woodshed in her youth. The details of the experience are never explained.

take someone to the woodshed

reprove or punish someone, especially discreetly. US informal, dated
This expression referred to the former practice of taking a naughty child to a woodshed to be punished, out of sight of other people.
See also: take, woodshed

take (someone) to the woodshed

To reprimand or punish (someone).
See also: take, woodshed

trip to the woodshed

An instance of being reprimanded or punished.
See also: trip, woodshed
References in periodicals archive ?
Jerry McCay's shtick is a little different from woodshedding.
Bigger: When I was woodshedding, I lived in a basement.