lest outing displease descendants

mari6s

Senior Member
Here's a sentence which structure I can't get to understand:

"Skeletons must stay in the closet lest outing displease descendants."

(in the context of ethnic pride and history textbooks, meaning that every ethnic group wants its ancestors to be represented as poor victims or great heroes, preferably both, and never as oppressors)

"lest outing displease descendants": "displease" must be a verb, right? But then what is "outing"?
 
  • misterk

    Moderator
    English-American
    "outing" is a gerund, from the verb "to out" -- most often heard now in relation to gays. "To out" = to expose, to reveal (something which was previously hidden or covered up).

    So, in your sentence: lest exposing (those skeletons) displease the descendants
     
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