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Metaphor of the day: secret

Metaphors for secret

To keep something secret is like covering it, or putting it in a container, so that other people cannot see it, e.g.:

  • She accused him of covering up the truth.
  • He tried to mask/disguise/camouflage his true feelings.
  • She wanted to bury the memory of that day.
  • The project is still under wraps.

To tell a secret is like removing a cover from something, or like opening a container and letting something get out, e.g.:

  • He uncovered/revealed/exposed a terrible secret.
  • You have always been very open about your feelings.
  • Someone leaked the information to the press.
  • The news had already got out.

For more metaphor examples, see the word secret in Macmillan Dictionary.

Can you think of more examples of this metaphor? If so, please add them below in a comment.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary


  • Some people in Ireland say there’s “a hole in the house” if a gossip or tell-tale is eavesdropping on a conversation.

  • In Mexico, when we want to tell someone smthg secret and there’s someone else
    around, we say: “Walls can listen” .

  • In Serbia, we say:”Even walls have ears!”
    When someone is trying to hide his feelings or intentions, or you can see he’s lying we say:”I am reading you like an open book”.
    There’s also a saying about “keeping your dirty laundry inside your house”, meaning you shouldn’t reveal family problems to others.

    “A skeleton in the closet” is an embarrassing secret about somebody’s past. American English,I think.

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