wordy wednesday: skeleton in the closet

Today’s idiom: skeleton in the closet

Meaning: shameful secrets

Origin: It came about in the 19th century and is speculated that the use of the world “closet” or sometimes “cupboard” referred to the fact that the secret could be discovered at any time.   The first time it appeared in print was in 1816 in a periodical The Eclectic Review, “Two great sources of distress are the danger of contagion and the apprehension of hereditary diseases. The dread of being the cause of misery to posterity has prevailed over men to conceal the skeleton in the closet.”  There is a theory that perhaps this phrase came about when the use of skeletons in classrooms was illegal and so doctors would hide them in their closets.

Source: phrases.


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