a skeleton in the cupboard / closet

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Senior Member
French from France

Could anyone tell me the exact meaning of this phrase?
Or are there more than one?
Does it possibly hint at one of Mrs Mary Higgins-Clark's book titles?
I tried to look it up in various dictionaries but failed.
Does the French phrase "un cadavre dans le placard" have the same meaning?
Thank you so much in advance.
  • konungursvia

    Canada (English)
    Note that in North America, we say "a skeleton in the closet." This makes sense, as closets are big enough for skeletons, whereas cupboards might only have enough room for cremated ashes. ;)
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