skeleton in the cupboard

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n skeleton in the cupboard 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 cupboard some hidden domestic source of sorrow or shame
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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:

Perhaps the skeleton in the cupboard comes out to be talked to, on such domestic occasions?
"Our Mutual Friend" by Charles Dickens
Our family had a skeleton in the cupboard, and the name of it was Uncle George.
"The Queen of Hearts" by Wilkie Collins
She's the skeleton in the family cupboard, isn't she?
"The Forsyte Saga, Volume II." by John Galsworthy
I have told you that I would have no skeleton in the cupboard.
"The Duke's Children" by Anthony Trollope
Wife locked up at home, skeleton in the cupboard.
"Ulysses" by James Joyce
She's the skeleton in the family cupboard, isn't she?
"The Forsyte Saga, Complete" by John Galsworthy
The Scotch do not keep their skeletons at home in a cupboard.
"Tomaso's Fortune and Other Stories" by Henry Seton Merriman
Great- aunt Jane is the skeleton in our cupboard.
"The Independence of Claire" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
Then there's another sayin' which mayhap you've heard of too: `every man's got a skeleton in the cupboard.
"Life in the Red Brigade" by R.M. Ballantyne
The half-starved English proletarian is not only nearly a skeleton but he is a skeleton in a cupboard.
"Eugenics and Other Evils" by G. K. Chesterton
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In poetry:

Remember! All your secrets I could tell.
To me your cupboard doors are all ajar.
Each hidden skeleton I know full well.
Push me too far,
And I shall tell the world who dodged his rent,
And privately ate sausages in Lent.
"Aha! Beware" by C J Dennis

In science:

However, the computability theorists have their own ‘skeleton in the cupboard’.
Definability in the Real Universe
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