Avere degli scheletri nell’armadio

Avere degli scheletri nell’armadio in Italian

Avere degli scheletri nell’armadio
To have skeletons in the closet

Literal translationTo have skeletons in the closet
MeaningHaving secrets or embarrassing things from the past that someone wants to keep hidden
IPA pronunciation/aˈveːre ˈdeʎʎi ˈskɛletri ˈnɛllarˈmadjo/

Secret is translated as segreto in Italian.

Where does this come from? This idiom did not originate in Italy. Instead, it’s thought to be a direct borrowing from English, which is why it can be translated literally into this language!

But where do skeletons come from? Why skeletons? Prior to 1832, anatomy studies in England could only be performed on the corpses of criminals who had been executed. This led to a shortage of corpses to study, so anatomy teachers had to make do and find illegal ways of obtaining corpses for students to examine. Because of this, skeletons had to be kept secret. Anatomy is translated into Italian as anatomia. Yet another easy word to remember! 😉

man destroying a compromising paper

For example, you can say…

Tutti hanno degli scheletri nell’armadio.
Everyone has skeletons in their closet.

Non te lo posso dire: è un segreto!
I can’t tell you: it’s a secret!

  • Avere (to have)
  • Scheletro (skeleton)
  • Armadio (closet)
  • In (preposition)
  • Prepositions
  • Partitive articles
  • All Italian expressions

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