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90s Slang You Should Know

open secret

something supposedly secret but actually known quite generally.
Origin of open secret
First recorded in 1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for open secret
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is an open secret, too, that he is engaged to Genevieve Winthrop, and surely a man must want to see the lady of his love.

    A War-Time Wooing Charles King
  • It was now an open secret that Sutoto and Cinda were in love.

  • It was an open secret—his attachment to a lady, who had been his pupil, and was now generally understood to be his fiancée.

    The Life of John Ruskin W. G. Collingwood
  • It was an open secret that their married life was anything but peaceful.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Finally, some weak miner, unable to hold the open secret any longer, told the Pet about Grump's operation in dust.

British Dictionary definitions for open secret

open secret

something that is supposed to be secret but is widely known
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with open secret

open secret

Something that is supposedly clandestine but is in fact widely known, as in It's an open secret that both their children are adopted. This expression originated as the title of a Spanish play by Calderón, El Secreto a Voces (“The Noisy Secret”), which was translated by Carlo Gozzi into Italian as Il pubblico secreto (1769). In English the term came into general use during the 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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