phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Keeping a secret

Posted by ESC on May 08, 2003

In Reply to: Please help A.S.A.P posted by ESC on May 08, 2003

: : : : I'm having a problem. I need to write an essay on Ben Franklins quote "Three may keep a secret if Two of them are dead". I can't find the meaning for it anywhere can anyone help me? Please, It is a dire emergency.

: "Three may keep a secret if Two of them are dead."

: It simply means that once a person shares a secret with two other people, it will get around. It's impossible for three people to keep a secret unless two are dead. Dead men tell no tales, you know.

: Remember Monica, Bill and Linda Tripp?

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) said, "Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead." The quote came from the July 1735 issue of "Poor Richard's Almanac," according to "Barlett's Familiar Quotations," seventeenth edition, by John Barlett and Justin Kaplan, general editor (Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 2002).

Another humorist expressed a similar sentiment more than 100 years later:

"A sekret ceases tew be a sekret if iiit iz once confided - it iz like a dollar bill, once broken it iz never a dollar agin." "Josh Billings: His Sayings," by Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818-1885) writing as Josh Billings. ("Barlett's Familiar Quotations.")