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Twenty Five Idioms about Keeping and Spilling Secrets


One of the reasons English is so difficult to learn is because it is a language full of idioms. An idiom is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning separate from the actual definitions of the words used. There are an estimated 25,000 idioms in the English language. Today we’re going to look at twenty five idioms about keeping secrets.

  1. as quiet as a mouse – silent or very quiet
  2. behind closed doors – out of sight, in secret, without public knowledge
  3. dark horse – a less well-known competitor or candidate who succeeds to an unexpectedly high level
  4. fly on the wall – an unnoticed witness
  5. like a thief in the night – someone behaving in a secretive manner
  6. mum’s the word – an informal request to keep something a secret
  7. my lips are sealed – I won’t talk about this
  8. off the record – not part of an official statement
  9. on the sly – secretly
  10. open secret – something that is supposed to be secret but is actually something that many people know about
  11. poker face – an impassive expression, an expression that hides your true feelings
  12. to bite/hold your tongue – to stop yourself from saying something
  13. to cover your tracks – to conceal or destroy any evidence of what you have been up to
  14. to crack – to break under pressure and reveal everything you know
  15. to dish the dirt – to reveal and spread gossip
  16. to give the game away – to accidentally reveal a secret
  17. to keep a low profile – to avoid attracting attention or publicity
  18. to keep someone/be kept in the dark – to keep someone/be kept uninformed
  19. to keep something under your hat/under wraps – to keep something a secret
  20. to leak – to intentionally expose secret information
  21. to let the cat out of the bag – to accidentally reveal a secret
  22. to spill the beans – to accidentally reveal a secret
  23. to sweep something under the rug/carpet – to hide or ignore a problem in the hope that it will go away
  24. to take the lid off – to expose (usually unwelcome) secrets
  25. whistle blower – informant

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?


13 Apr 2016
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