Lucky is the man who has no "skeleton in his closet". When
a man has done something in his life that he is ashamed of, that he wants to
hide, he is said to have a "skeleton in his closet". Some people may have more
than one skeleton.
As we have noted many times, it is
hard to find out how these expressions begin. Sometimes, we get some hard facts.
But more often we have to depend on guesswork. And that is true of this phrase,
which came from England.
Before 1932, English law did not
permit a doctor to cut open a dead human body for scientific examination, unless
it was the corpse (尸体) of an executed (处决) criminal.
it became legal, more and more doctors demanded skeletons for a more scientific
study of medicine. It was helping in the advance of modern medicine. The demand
had become so strong that men began to rob tombs and sell skeletons to doctors
at high prices.
We are told that a doctor would usually buy
just one skeleton for scientific study. It became very important in his work.
But he had to keep it hidden because most people objected to keeping such a
thing. As a rule, the doctor would keep his skeleton in some dark corner where
it could not be seen, or hide it in a closet.
After a time,
people began to suspect (怀疑) every doctor of hiding a skeleton in the closet.
From this suspicion, the phrase "a skeleton in the closet" took on a broader,
more general meaning to describe anything that a man wanted to keep others from
discovering. It could be proof of a criminal act, or something much less
serious. Well, that is one theory.
One writer, however,
believes that the phrase might have come from something that really happened. It
is his guess that a hidden closet in some old English country home may have
turned up a real skeleton, clear proof of some old family shame or crime. Well,
one man’s guess is as good as another. But this sounds like a story by the great
French novelist, Balzac.
Baizac tells us of a man who suspected
his wife of having a lover. The husband comes home by surprise. But she hears
him and quickly hides her lover in the closet of her bedroom. He enters her room
and asks her if she is hiding her lover. He says he will not open the door to
the closet if she promises him there is no one there; He will believe her. She
answers firmly that she is not hiding anyone in the closet.
husband then begins to build a solid brick wall against the closet. His wife
watches, knowing that her lover will never come out alive. But she will not
change her story and admit her guilt.Which of the following situations is suitable for using the phrase
"skeleton in the closet"
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