" A skeleton in the closet (or cupboard) "
A secret and possibly ruinous source of shame.
No one in the family ever talked about Grandad being convicted of child abuse. It was the skeleton in our closet.
Where did it originate?:
The United Kingdom.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, although the British now use ’cupboard’ and the USA still uses ’closet’.
Hear the idiom spoken: