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open secret

noun
1.
something supposedly secret but actually known quite generally.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for open secret
  • While their purpose was a kind of open secret then, their contributions were still largely unknown to the public.
  • It was an open secret that illegal miners enjoyed political cover bought with illicit donations.
  • Several key informants referred in elliptical ways to this phenomenon, so it may be an open secret.
British Dictionary definitions for open secret

open secret

noun
1.
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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