A skeleton in the closet


      • Hidden secrets or shameful truths
        Referring to something that someone is trying to keep hidden or secret, often due to embarrassment or fear of judgment. Can also suggest the presence of a guilty conscience.

      • Unresolved or suppressed issues
        Describing underlying problems or conflicts that remain unresolved and may cause trouble in the future if not addressed. Can also imply unresolved trauma or emotional baggage.

    Examples of A skeleton in the closet

    • John was hesitant to introduce his girlfriend to his family because he feared that they would discover the skeleton in his closet - his felony conviction from five years ago.

      This example shows how "a skeleton in the closet" can be used as a metaphor for a dark or embarrassing secret that someone is keeping hidden. In this case, John's felony conviction is the "skeleton" that he is ashamed of and does not want his family to find out about. The phrase "skeleton in the closet" is used to convey the idea that there is some past action or mistake that someone is trying to conceal.

    • Rachel had always been an upstanding member of her community, but her reputation was suddenly called into question when a skeleton was discovered in her closet during a police search of her home.

      This idiom is used to describe a secret or scandal hidden by someone, often a person of high standing or reputation. The image of a hidden skeleton represents the dark and shameful secrets that the individual is trying to keep hidden. In this example, Rachel's seemingly perfect image was shattered when the police found evidence of wrongdoing in her closet, forcing her to confront the skeleton in her own personal closet.

    • As a struggling actor, Jack was desperate for a breakthrough role. But his dreams were shattered when a skeleton in his closet was revealed during a background check for a major Hollywood production.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used in a variety of contexts, demonstrating that hidden secrets can impact individuals in all walks of life. In this case, Jack's past misdeeds threatened to ruin his chances for success in the highly competitive world of Hollywood, illustrating the powerful role that secrets can play in shaping our futures.

    • The politician's skeleton in the closet was exposed during a vicious smear campaign by his political rivals, casting doubt on his entire career and leaving his political future uncertain.

      This example shows how secrets can have far-reaching consequences, particularly in the political arena. The politician's reputation was called into question by the revelation of a hidden scandal, which threatened to undermine his entire political career. The metaphor of the skeleton in the closet is especially potent in this context, as it suggests that political secrets have a way of coming back to haunt those who try to keep them hidden.

    • The family's skeleton in the closet was revealed during a heated argument between siblings over their inheritance.

      This example shows how secrets can tear families apart, particularly during contentious legal disputes. The use of the skeleton in the closet metaphor in this context highlights the fact that family secrets can have a powerful and destructive impact on family relationships, particularly when they are brought to the surface during times of stress and conflict. In this example, the revelation of the hidden scandal threatened to permanently fracture the family's relationship, illustrating the universal hold that secrets can have over our personal lives.

    • Sarah's grandmother always warned her about the dangers of secrets, emphasizing that everyone has a skeleton in the closet. Sarah had heard this phrase countless times, but she never fully understood its meaning until recently. After discovering some old letters and photographs in the back of her grandmother's closet, she realized that her grandmother had been hiding a dark secret for years.

      The expression "a skeleton in the closet" refers to a hidden or shameful secret that could potentially harm one's reputation if it were revealed. It originated from the old-fashioned practice of storing skeletons in closets by morticians and anatomists before burial or dissection. The phrase suggests that everyone has something they would rather keep hidden, and it serves as a warning against the dangers of secrecy.

    • Jane had always been wary of her neighbor, Mr. Johnson, but she couldn't quite put her finger on why. Then, one night, she heard thick footsteps in his apartment and the sound of heavy objects being moved around. She called the police, and they discovered a room filled with human skulls and bones. As it turned out, Mr. Johnson had been a serial killer, and he had been hiding his grisly transgressions in his own closet for years.

      This example shows how the phrase "a skeleton in the closet" can be used to reveal a person's true nature and expose their most shocking secrets. It also highlights the potential dangers that can arise from keeping secrets, as the skeleton in the closet can ultimately lead to one's downfall.

    • When Rachel's boss called her into his office and asked her about the missing funds from the company's accounts, she knew she was in trouble. Panic set in as she realized that she had embezzled the money and hidden the evidence in a secret compartment in the office closet. She tried to deny any wrongdoing, but the evidence was too damning. Rachel resigned from her position and vowed to never let another secret fester in the shadows again.

      This example illustrates how the expression "a skeleton in the closet" can be used to describe a person's misdeeds or wrongdoings. It suggests that people often try to hide their mistakes and faults as if they were skeletons that could harm their reputation or credibility. However, as this example shows, eventually, the truth will come out, and the consequences can be severe.


    The idiom "a skeleton in the closet" is commonly used to refer to hidden secrets or unresolved issues that someone may be trying to keep hidden. It can also suggest the presence of a guilty conscience or unresolved emotional trauma. This idiom is often used in a figurative sense to describe something that is hidden or kept secret, rather than a literal skeleton in a closet.

    Origin of "A skeleton in the closet"

    The origin of this idiom is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the 19th century. One theory suggests that it may have come from the practice of medical students hiding skeletons in their closets to avoid detection by authorities. Another theory suggests it may have originated from the idea of a family's "skeletons" or shameful secrets being literally hidden away in a closet.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom has become a common expression in the English language and is often used to describe hidden secrets or unresolved issues. It can also be used in a humorous or lighthearted way to refer to embarrassing or awkward situations. Overall, the idiom "a skeleton in the closet" is a versatile expression that can be used in a variety of contexts to describe hidden or suppressed truths.