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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Skeleton(s) in one's closet

Idiom: skeleton(s) in one's closet ; used as a noun

First Example:

Michael: Why is Oscar so upset?
Pam: You didn't hear?  Everyone found out that his brother is in prison, and now he's really embarrassed.                                                      
Michael: Why? It's not like he's the one in jail.
Pam: True, but some people don't like others to know about their families' secrets.  And no one likes having the skeletons in their closet revealed.
Michael: That's true. I would hate it if everyone was talking about some deep, dark secret in my family.
Pam: Like what?
Michael: Well, like... Wait, I'm not gonna tell you!

Meaning: The idiom "skeleton(s) in one's closet" is used as a noun to refer to the embarrassing or shocking secrets that people have. The skeletons in the idiom refer to the secrets themselves, and the closet refers to keeping them "in the dark." "Skeleton's in one's closet" is the American idiom while British and Australian people use the alternative "skeleton(s) in one's cupboard." Here is another example of the American version:

Adviser: So, Mrs. Smith, before you run for office, I need to know. Do you have any skeletons in your closet?  Any affairs or other dirty little secrets?        
Politician: Not that I can think of.
Adviser: You don't have any past criminal behavior - any laws broken that might come out?
Politician: Like speeding tickets?
Adviser: No, no one cares about minor things like that. I'm talking about major things like drinking and driving, or a hit and run.
Politician: Nope, can't think of anything like that.
Adviser: Good.  Now let's discuss marketing...

Meaning: In this example, the adviser is asking if the politician has any skeletons in her closet. This idiom is commonly used when discussing the secrets of politicians and other public figures. The adviser even clarifies that minor issues, like speeding tickets, aren't really bad enough to be considered a skeleton in one's closet.       @LSISB @LSIOC @LSINE @LSILA


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