A skeleton in the closet is a metaphor for something that is hidden away and not spoken about. It is often used to describe secrets or shameful pasts that are kept hidden. The phrase can be used to describe both individuals and organizations.

When someone says that someone else has a skeleton in their closet, they are usually implying that the person is not as perfect as they seem.

We’ve all heard the phrase “skeletons in the closet” before, but what does it actually mean? A skeleton in the closet is a dark secret or embarrassing event from someone’s past that they try to keep hidden. Everyone has skeletons in their closet – some more than others – and it’s often these secrets that can come back to haunt us.

For example, let’s say you have a friend who is always boasting about her perfect life. She seems to have everything going for her and she makes it look so easy. But then one day, a skeleton comes out of her closet and you learn that she’s been hiding a dark secret: she’s been struggling with depression for years.

This newfound knowledge changes your perception of her completely and makes you see her in a whole new light. Of course, not all skeletons are as serious as this example. Sometimes, they’re just embarrassing moments from our past that we’d rather forget about.

For instance, maybe you got drunk at a party in college and made a fool of yourself. Or maybe you said something really awkward to your crush when you were younger. Whatever the case may be, we’ve all got skeletons in our closets – some bigger than others.

What Does Skeletons in the Closet Mean?

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What are Examples of Skeletons in the Closet?

Skeletons in the closet are usually dark secrets or embarrassing moments from a person’s past that they would prefer to keep hidden. These can be anything from a one-time mistake or something more serious like a criminal record. Sometimes people will try to blackmail others by threatening to reveal their skeletons, but this is generally considered an unethical thing to do.

Why is It Called Skeletons in the Closet?

There are a few theories about the origins of the phrase “skeleton in the closet.” One theory is that it comes from a 18th century Gothic novel called The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. In the novel, there is a scene where a skeleton pops out of a hidden alcove and scares one of the characters.

This may be where the phrase first came from. Another theory is that the phrase comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. In Hamlet, there is a scene where Hamlet’s father’s ghost tells Hamlet to revenge his death by killing Claudius.

The ghost says, “I find thee apt; / And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed / That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf, / Wouldst thou not stir in this?” Claudius later realizes that Hamlet knows about his murder and says, “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: / Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” This could be interpreted as meaning that when someone has done something they’re ashamed of (i.e., killed someone), their conscience will bother them and they’ll eventually confess or be found out (i.e., their skeletons will come out of the closet).

So, which theory is correct? It’s hard to say for sure. But one thing is certain: the phrase “skeleton in the closet” has been used for centuries to describe dark secrets that people keep hidden away.

Understanding figurative language: “skeletons in the closet”

Skeleton in the Closet Meaning And Example

Most of us have something in our past that we’re not proud of – a skeleton in the closet, so to speak. This phrase is often used to describe a person’s dark secret, something that they keep hidden from others for fear of judgement or ridicule. For example, someone might be embarrassed about a previous addiction and keep it hidden from their friends and family.

Or, someone might have committed a crime and kept it hidden for years out of fear of going to jail. Whatever the case may be, we all have skeletons in our closets that we’d rather not talk about. While it’s understandable to want to keep these things hidden, doing so can often do more harm than good.

Secrets have a way of coming out eventually, and when they do it can be quite damaging to relationships and reputations. It’s always better to face up to your skeletons head-on, no matter how difficult it may be.

What is the Origin of Skeleton in the Closet

The saying “skeleton in the closet” is derived from an old English idiom, “to have a bone in one’s throat.” The phrase originally referred to literally having a bone stuck in your throat that you couldn’t get rid of. Over time, the meaning shifted to refer to something that was hidden away and causing you distress.

In the 1800s, the phrase morphed into its current form: “to have a skeleton in the closet.” The earliest recorded use of the new idiom comes from Charles Dickens’ 1848 novel Dombey and Son. In it, Mr. Dombey says to his son: “There are people enough in existence… who go about everywhere with their ugly little skeletons wrapped up in their dirty little closets, which they take care shall never see daylight!”

Today, we use the saying to describe any dark secret or shameful event that someone may be hiding. It can also be used more broadly to refer to anything negative about a person that is kept hidden from view.

Demons in the Closet Meaning

When we think of demons, we usually think of something that is evil and out to harm us. However, there are also demons that live inside of us. These demons are our fears, doubts, and insecurities.

They are the things that hold us back from living our best lives. We all have these demons hiding in our closets. The first step to dealing with your demons is to acknowledge them.

Recognizing that they exist is half the battle. Once you know what your demons are, you can start to work on overcoming them. This will not be an easy process, but it is worth it.

One way to overcome your demons is to face them head-on. Confronting your fears can be scary, but it is often the only way to move past them. Another way to deal with your demons is to talk about them with someone who understands and can help you work through them.

Sometimes having someone else’s perspective can be helpful in seeing things differently and finding new solutions. No matter what method you choose, remember that you are not alone in this fight. We all have our own personal demons to deal with.

But by facing them head-on, we can learn to overcome anything life throws at us!

Skeleton in the Closet Synonym

A skeleton in the closet is a secret that someone is hiding. It’s something that they don’t want anyone to know about, and it can be something embarrassing or even illegal. If you have a skeleton in your closet, it’s best to keep it there.

But sometimes, people just can’t help but tell their secrets.


The phrase “skeletons in the closet” is often used to describe dark secrets that people keep hidden. These secrets can be anything from a past crime to a embarrassing moment. The phrase suggests that these secrets are so terrible that they’re best kept hidden away, like skeletons in a closet.