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Keep the lid on

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 07, 2007

In Reply to: Keep the lid on posted by Marco on September 07, 2007

: What does the phrase "keep the lid on something" mean and what is its origin?

:Both the literal and the figurative meaning are often heard. You keep the lid on the sugar to keep the ants out. You keep the lid on important information when it could give aid and comfort to the enemy. "George has decided to nominate Phil for the job; but keep the lid on it, please, as this shouldn't get out just yet." Keeping the lid on this information means keeping it quiet, out of sight and out of hearing. It shouldn't be let out (open to public knowledge) just yet.

Don't confuse it with that other idiom, "put a lid on it." That means "shut up," or more politely, "give me some silence, please."

This has been discussed here before, but I can't find it in the archives.