- a family scandal that is concealed to avoid public disgrace.
- any embarrassing, shameful, or damaging secret.
Origin of skeleton
Examples from the Web for skeleton
That meant the talent that DJ Brinsely hired that night performed for a skeleton audience.
The identity of the skeleton remains the big question, and answers may not be forthcoming anytime soon.
Enriqueta Romero put a skeleton on the sidewalk, and helped give us Santa Muerte.America’s Fastest Growing Death Holiday Is From Mexico|Michael Schulson|November 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Posada used the skeleton as a way of talking about politics, commenting on life.
“He looks like half the man he was, a skeleton,” says Bogucki.A Navy Lawyer Cries Foul on Gitmo’s Kafkaesque Legal System|Eleanor Clift|September 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The colonel had thrust the skeleton of John out of the passage.A Romance of the West Indies|Eugne Sue
Her skeleton was long a conspicuous object, visited by ramblers on the Island.Toronto of Old|Henry Scadding
The old mare went better than could have been expected from such a skeleton of a beast.Life in the Clearings versus the Bush|Susanna Moodie
The skeleton being completed, her planks are then secured by copper or iron nails to the timbers, and riveted.
The Skeleton exchanged a look of savage satisfaction with the Gros-Boiteux.The Mysteries of Paris, Volume 5 of 6|Eugne Sue
Word Origin for skeleton
1570s, from Modern Latin sceleton "bones, bony framework of the body," from Greek skeleton soma "dried-up body, mummy, skeleton," from neuter of skeletos "dried-up" (also, as a noun, "dried body, mummy"), from skellein "dry up, make dry, parch," from PIE root *skele- "to parch, wither" (see sclero-).
Skelton was an early variant form. The noun use of Greek skeletos passed into Late Latin (sceletus), hence French squelette and rare English skelet (1560s), Spanish esqueleto, Italian scheletro. The meaning "bare outline" is first recorded c.1600; hence skeleton crew (1778), skeleton key, etc. Phrase skeleton in the closet "source of secret shame to a person or family" is from 1812.