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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Secrets - Discretion

(Idioms, page 2 :  like a thief  →  truth will out)

like a thief in the night Someone who acts like a thief in the night does something secretly or in an unexpected manner.
He left the company like a thief in the night, without telling his colleagues or saying goodbye.
lips are sealed If you say that your lips are sealed, you  promise not to reveal a secret.
I promise I won't tell anyone. My lips are sealed.
mum's the word To say 'mum's the word' means that the subject or plan is a secret and must not be revealed.
We're organizing a surprise birthday party, so mum's the work - OK?
off the record If you say something off the record, you do not want anyone to repeat it publicly.
His comment was made off the record, and shouldn't have been published.
on the QT Something that is done on the QT is done quietly or discreetly.
They got married on the QT last summer and told nobody.
on the sly If you do something on the sly, you do it secretly or furtively.
He made such quick progress that the others suspected him of having private lessons on the sly.
open secret A fact that is supposed to be a secret but is actually widely known is called an open secret.
It's an open secret that Paul and Emily are living together.
quiet as a mouse When someone is as quiet as a mouse, they make no noise at all.
The burglar was a quiet as a mouse as he moved around the house.
spill the beans If you spill the beans, you reveal a secret or talk about something private.
Come on!  Spill the beans!  What did he say?
in strict confidence If you say something in strict confidence, you tell it as a secret not to be revealed.
Please don't repeat this.  I'm telling it to you in strict confidence.
sweep under the rug If you sweep something under the rug (or carpet), you try to hide it or keep it secret because it is embarrassing.
They tried unsuccessfully to sweep the scandal under the rug.
trade secret This term refers to the secrecy of a company's production methods but is often used teasingly.
"Can you give me the recipe for your lemon meringue pie?"  " No way - that's a trade secret!"
truth will out This expression means that despite efforts to conceal the facts, the truth cannot be hidden forever.
I don't know if the police gave the full details, but inevitably truth will out.
   
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