behind closed doors
Meaning: in clandestine, privately, secret.
Example: The planning board of the finance division constantly meets behind closed doors, in case its negotiations become known in advance.
Idioms related to Secret
behind closed doors
let the cat out of the bag
- to let a secret out in the open
- to allow something that is hidden to be revealed
- to reveal something either by accident or as a surprise
- The Mason’s let the cat out of the bag at the end minute. Until then nobody at the party knew about the performance by such a famous film star in a regular party.
- I have let the cat out of the bag, there is no point pretending that this job is working out for me.
- My boss did not let the cat out of the bag about the deal until all the relevant contracts were signed.
- She let the cat out of the bag and finally told her parents about her plans of getting married.
- Nobody in the market was supposed to know about Coca-Cola discount schemes, but the huge advertisement hoardings seems to have let the cat out of the bag.
The phrase originates from markets where animals were provided in bags and piglets would be substituted by cats, which when out would be a surprise for the audiences. The phrase has been around since the 15th century. The first literary origin comes from “The London Magazine” in the year 1760. In fact, in the time frame of 1750 to 1770 there are many references found for the use of this phrase.
sweep under the carpet or rug
Meaning: try to hide a problem or keep a problem secret instead of dealing with it.
Example: The administration team of the town attempts to sweep the scandal under the carpet were not very successful.
keep card close to chest
Meaning: be secretive or cautious, give nothing away.
Example: My brother don’t know how much money his friends will spend this Friday night, he keep his card close to his chest.
have a card up sleeve
- to have a secret advantage that is suddenly revealed to change the game
- a hidden resource
- He did not just leave his house. He had a card up his sleeve that he did not even reveal to his family, which was his new flat in a posh locality.
- The competition should always be checked for cards up their sleeves when you can.
- The card up her sleeve was her only son, now that he is all grown up, her life has become extremely luxurious.
- Brexit may seem like a poor decision to the rest of the world but England is always known to have a card up its sleeve in such matters.
- Before coming to a conclusion please check the card up his sleeve. You will know that he always had a back-up plan and did not trust you so much.
- The lawyer who is good, always keeps one card up his sleeve to ensure that he wins the case.
- Before he make a decision, let’s see if the rivals have another card up their sleeve.
Seemingly obvious, this phrase originates from the world of cards and especially poker where having a secret resource could be a winning factor. The literary origin of this phrase cannot be traced accurately.