Skeleton in the Cupboard (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Skeleton in the Cupboard"?

Meaning to have hidden away a shameful or embarrassing secret, the term skeleton in the cupboard originates from the legalisation of human body dissections. Grave diggers would present corpses to doctors to dissect and, because of the controversy, the doctors would hide away their secrets in a locked cupboard.
Skeleton in the Cupboard (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • Every family has a skeleton in their cupboard. Ours is Uncle John.
  • My friend refuses to talk about her childhood. I wonder if she has a skeleton in her cupboard?
  • Eric won't talk about his first marriage. There's definitely a skeleton in that cupboard.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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