let the cat out of the bag

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(Mid-1700s) The inverse of the idiom pig in a poke. If a dishonest merchant tries to sell a cat as a pig and the cat comes out or is taken out of the bag, the merchant's secret is disclosed.[1][2]


to let the cat out of the bag

  1. (idiomatic) To disclose a secret; to let a secret be known, often inadvertently.
    It was going to be a surprise party until someone let the cat out of the bag.
    • 1849, Charlotte Brontë, Shirley
      He proved himself as decent, decorous, and conscientious as Peter was rampant, boisterous, and — This last epithet I choose to suppress, because it would let the cat out of the bag.




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