skeleton in the closet

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n skeleton in the closet a scandal that is kept secret "there must be a skeleton somewhere in that family's closet"
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Skeleton in the closet some hidden domestic source of sorrow or shame
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Idioms

Skeleton in the closet - If someone has a skeleton in the closet, they have a dark, shameful secret in their past that they want to remain secret.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. skeleton (sōma), a dried (body)—skeletos, dried—skellein, to dry, to parch.

Usage

In literature:

It was the skeleton in his closet.
"A Man for the Ages" by Irving Bacheller
Among these was Judge Custis, who opened his skeleton-in-the-closet to John M. Clayton one spring-like day.
"The Entailed Hat" by George Alfred Townsend
How can a skeleton in the closet tell us anything valuable about contemporary music?
"Old Fogy" by James Huneker
The Frothinghams have a skeleton in their closet.
"You Should Worry Says John Henry" by George V. Hobart
I'm not going to have any skeletons in the closet to cause pain hereafter.
"A Voice in the Wilderness" by Grace Livingston Hill
All its traditions are of the most respectable kind; no skeleton in those closets!
"The Hermit Of ------ Street" by Anna Katharine Green (Mrs. Charles Rohlfs)
But of course I did not make any allusion to the subject, for fear it was a skeleton in her closet.
"Lady Betty Across the Water"
I find that the skeleton in my domestic closet is becoming a pretty big one.
"The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete" by John Forster
A skeleton ('twas rumored) rattled in the Vaudrey closet.
"Orphans of the Storm" by Henry MacMahon
Polly had never told him what Mamise had told her, but she had to let out a few of the skeletons in Mamise's closet now.
"The Cup of Fury" by Rupert Hughes
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In news:

Are there skeletons in the closet of renaissance Florence's first family.
Sean Moynihan, a Denver deputy district attorney, has a skeleton in his closet: In the early '90s, he perpetrated sex crimes as a character on the soap opera "One Life to Live".
Skeleton in the Closet .
Never mind the skeletons in the closet.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick again had a few more skeletons shaken loose from the deep, deep closet of corruption this week after the FBI alleged that he took additional kickbacks while in office.
" Ezra 's got some skeletons in the closet," the actor tells THR at a recent set visit.
If not for skeletons in his closet, Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith might be the highest-rated defensive back in the draft.
Forget about the skeletons in your closet being exposed if you run for office because you can't afford to run for office in New Jersey anyway.
'The Flat': Nazi skeleton in the closet.
Stone starts out with an absolutely nifty film noir premise: An uptight case worker with a few skeletons in his closet is seduced by the femme fatale wife of a manipulative inmate who's hoping for early parole.
Uncover the skeletons in your family's closet.
I personally uncovered this closet skeleton on a reconnaissance mission in the Chicago Association of REALTORS®' professional development wing.
Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, explores darker literary territory in Wit 's End, about a woman seeking skeletons in the closet of her godmother, a renowned mystery novelist.
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