English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Secrets - Discretion
|behind closed doors||
If something takes place behind closed
doors, it is done privately or in
secret, with no observers or intruders.
The matter was discussed behind closed doors.
|bite your tongue||
If you bite your tongue, you try
not to say what you really think or feel.
It was difficult for me not to react; I had to bite my tongue.
|cover your tracks||If you cover your tracks, you
conceal or destroy evidence of what you have
been doing or where you have been.
Charlie was sorry he hadn't covered his tracks better when his wife discovered he had been unfaithful.
|dark horse||If you refer to someone as a dark
horse you mean that they are secretive
or that little is known about them.
I can't say I know my neighbour. He's a bit of a dark horse.
|in the dark||If someone is kept or left in the
dark about something, they are not
informed about it.
The personnel was kept in the dark about the merger until the last minute.
|dumb/close as an oyster||Someone who is as
dumb or as
close as an oyster will never
reveal something told in confidence or
betray a secret.
Sophie will never repeat what you tell her. She's as dumb as an oyster.
|fly on the wall||A person who discretely watches a
situation without being noticed is called a
fly on the wall.
I'd like to be a fly on the wall when the management discusses my project.
|give the game away||If you give the
game away, you reveal a secret or a
plan, often unintentionally.
He hoped nobody in the hotel would recognize him, but an employee gave the game away.
|good walls make good neighbours||This expression means that respecting
one another's privacy helps create a good
relationship between neighbours.
We try not to disturb the people next door. Good walls make good neighbours!
|hold your tongue||If you hold
your tongue, you stay silent and say
Harry was of a different opinion but he decided to hold his tongue.
|keep a low profile||A person who keeps a low profile
tries not to attract public attention.
The inventor is a discreet man who keeps a low profile.
|keep under your hat||
To keep something under one's hat
means to keep a secret.
My boss has promised me a promotion, but it's not official yet, so keep it under your hat.
|keep under wraps||If something is kept under wraps,
it is held secret and not revealed to
The plan was kept under wraps until the contract as officially signed.
|let cat out of the bag||If you let the cat out of the bag,
you reveal a secret, often unintentionally.
When the child told her grandmother about the plans for her birthday, she let the cat out of the bag. It was supposed to be a secret!
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