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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


from:  'behind closed doors'    to:  'let the cat out of the bag'

  • 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."

  • (a) 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."

  • (as) 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."

  • (a) 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 nothing.
      "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 anyone.
      "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."

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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