Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.


let the cat out of the bag

let the cat out of the bag


  • to let a secret out in the open
  • to allow something that is hidden to be revealed
  • to reveal something either by accident or as a surprise

Example Sentences

  1. The Mason’s let the cat out of the bag at the end minute. Until then nobody at the party knew about the performance by such a famous film star in a regular party.
  2. I have let the cat out of the bag, there is no point pretending that this job is working out for me.
  3. My boss did not let the cat out of the bag about the deal until all the relevant contracts were signed.
  4. She let the cat out of the bag and finally told her parents about her plans of getting married.
  5. Nobody in the market was supposed to know about Coca-Cola discount schemes, but the huge advertisement hoardings seems to haveĀ let the cat out of the bag.


The phrase originates from markets where animals were provided in bags and piglets would be substituted by cats, which when out would be a surprise for the audiences. The phrase has been around since the 15th century. The first literary origin comes from “The London Magazine” in the year 1760. In fact, in the time frame of 1750 to 1770 there are many references found for the use of this phrase.

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