In Reply to: We know where the bodies are buried posted by ESC on May 10, 2008 at 08:17:
: : 'We know where the bodies are buried'. Who coined this phrase?
: I am guessing someone with organized crime. But I will see what the phrase books say.
We know which skeletons are in which closets, which unmarked graves hide the company's secrets. Or, as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it:
"orig. N. Amer. to know where the bodies are buried: to have personal knowledge of the secrets or confidential affairs of an organization or individual."
They cite several examples of this phrase in use, beinging with:
"1940 H. J. MANKIEWICZ & O. WELLES Citizen Kane (film script) 199 If you're smart, you'll talk to Raymond. That's the butler. You can learn a lot from him. He knows where the bodies are buried."