Let the cat out of the bag: Meaning, synonyms & origin + 9 example sentences

What does “Let the cat out of the bag” mean?

“Let the cat out of the bag” means to disclose a secret or to leak a confidential data, talk or material. The idiom has the connotative meaning of telling closed or important information openly. In other words the idiom means to public any unknown or uncommunicated information. This phrase means to communicate any unknown or closed data.

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9 examples of how to use “Let the cat out of the bag” in a sentence

  • The culprit knows everything about last night incident, we tried our best to convince her but she is not letting the cat out of the bag.
  • Let the cat out of the bag if you want to live here peacefully.
  • The newly recruited members of the intelligence agencies receive training about how to let the cat out of the bag.
  • Let the cat out of the bag, otherwise we will punish you.
  • I have lost my diamond ring last night, if any one of you knows where my ring is; kindly let the cat out of the bag.
  • I was interested to know everything about her, and I was quite sure that she will let the cat out of her bag.
  • I f you are not willing to let the cat out of the bag then I can’t do anything; if you will help me than I can help you too.
  • Don’t let the cat out of the bag, I f you want to live here peacefully then you must know how to keep the secrets.
  • Our teacher did not let the cat out of the bag about the results until all the papers were checked and signed by principal.

The origin of “Let the cat out of the bag”

The origin of the phrase “let the cat out of the bag” has its attachment with the animal market. When someone buys any animal, the shopkeeper used to handover the animal in bags and piglets were replaced by cats, which would confuse the audience when they emerged. This phrase has been noticed in English language since 15th century. The first written origin of this idiom was found in “The London Magazine” during the year 1760.

With the passage of time this idiom during the years 1750 to 1770 was majorly used and there are a lot of evidences in favor of this idiom.

However, the origin of this phrase is not clear. There are many other references related to the origin of this idiom. One reference is that the term refers to the “cat o’nine tails,” a whip-like punishment device once used on Royal Navy ships. The instrument was said to be held in a red sack, and any sailor who exposed another sailor’s transgressions was “letting the cat out of the bag.” Another possible origin is the “pig in a poke” con, in which a customer purchasing a suckling pig in a sack is actually sold a (less valuable) cat, and is unaware of the deception until the bag is opened. In a letter to Martin Luther on 4 May 1530, Johannes Agricola used the phrase “let the cat out of the bag,” according to Lyndal Roper’s 2016 biography of Martin Luther.

Synonyms for “Let the cat out of the bag”

Secret, disclose, leak, open, to public, to reveal, restricted, confidence, unrevealed, top secret, confidential, private, underhanded, surreptitious, stealthy, make explicit, deceive, undercover, mystery, unknown, code, occult, hidden, furtive, veiled, closed, privy, covered, unseen.

Idioms related to “Let the cat out of the bag”

  • Spill the beans
  • Crack under pressure
  • Take the lid off something
  • Whistle blower
  • Keep something under wraps
  • Take your secret to the grave with you
  • A magician never reveals his secrets
  • Best-kept secret
  • Make a secret of something
  • Your secret is safe with me.