Drag skeletons out of the closet

dhejejjeskms

Senior Member
Korean
Hi, everybody.

I want to ask what the highlighted part means. It is from a BBC article (I've put the link down below.) and it was about the people who found out that one of their biological parent is not the person they called as father or mother after a DNA test.

(The Christmas present that could tear your family apart)

Stories like Bill's and Jenny's are far from unique - across the country, do-it-yourself genetic testing kits are dragging skeletons out of the closet in their hundreds, if not thousands.
Catherine St Clair, a county official from Conroe, Texas, was given a DNA test for her 55th birthday by her older siblings. She too found out her biological father was a man she had never met but - unlike Bill and Jenny - her mother was no longer alive, so there was no way of getting answers to her questions.

Thank you.
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    There's an expression 'to have a skeleton in the closet', which means a secret about something bad in your or your family's history.
    So if your mother had an affair, got pregnant and had the baby but never told her husband or anybody that the child wasn't his, that secret would be that family's 'skeleton in the closet'. Assuming it was discovered.
     

    dhejejjeskms

    Senior Member
    Korean
    There's an expression 'to have a skeleton in the closet', which means a secret about something bad in your or your family's history.
    So if your mother had an affair, got pregnant and had the baby but never told her husband or anybody that the child wasn't his, that secret would be that family's 'skeleton in the closet'. Assuming it was discovered.
    Thank you.
    I stll have one thing I can't understand.
    Would you explain what "in their hundreds, if not thousands" mean?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are many situations in which people might not be exactly who they think they are although fewer these days when having an illegitimate baby is more accepted.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    There are many situations in which people might not be exactly who they think they are although fewer these days when having an illegitimate baby is more accepted.
    The problem is not when the baby was illegitimate (born out of wedlock) but when the actual father is discovered not to be the mother's husband. A real case: father buys teenage daughter one of these kits, she discovers that he is not her biological father, he divorces her mother for having had an affair 14 years earlier.

    That is an example of a "skeleton" (= frightening fact) which was "in the closet" (BE in the cupboard = kept secret) for years.
     

    dhejejjeskms

    Senior Member
    Korean
    The problem is not when the baby was illegitimate (born out of wedlock) but when the actual father is discovered not to be the mother's husband. A real case: father buys teenage daughter one of these kits, she discovers that he is not her biological father, he divorces her mother for having had an affair 14 years earlier.

    That is an example of a "skeleton" (= frightening fact) which was "in the closet" (BE in the cupboard = kept secret) for years.
    Thank you.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I was thinking of those cases where an elder unmarried sister gets pregnant but her child is declared to be a late/accidental offspring of her mother and father, the grandparents. The child thinks her mother is a much older sister.
    Many more deception and coverups took place when unmarried parent-hood was not acceptable, which was most of my life.
     

    dhejejjeskms

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I was thinking of those cases where an elder unmarried sister gets pregnant but her child is declared to be a late/accidental offspring of her mother and father, the grandparents. The child thinks her mother is a much older sister.
    Many more deception and coverups took place when unmarried parent-hood was not acceptable, which was most of my life.
    Thank you.
     
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