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QUICK QUOTE

Idiom

Let the Cat Out of the Bag: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
To reveal a secret or a surprise, usually by accident.
Origin
Many years ago, merchants often sold live piglets to customers. After putting a piglet in a bag so the customer could transport it easily, dishonest merchants sometimes swapped the piglet for a cat when the customer looked away. The buyer often didn’t discover the trick until they got home and really let the cat out of the bag, revealing the merchant’s secret!
Examples
“It’s a secret. Try not to let the cat out of the bag.”

“I was really looking forward to seeing the film, until Jack let the cat out of the bag and told me the ending!”

“We were going to have a surprise birthday for dad, but my silly brother let the cat out of the bag the day before.”

“Well the cat’s out of the bag now. Everyone knows Amy will be given the lead role in the play.”
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