Open secret is an idiom with an interesting origin. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom open secret, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.
An open secret is information that is supposed to be secret but is, in fact, widely known. For instance, an employee may be looking for a new job in secret, but everyone in his department may know what he is doing because of his absences for interviews. An open secret often involves something that no one ones to admit, confront, or talk about. The expression open secret came into use in the 1820s and is derived from the title of a Spanish play written by Calderón in 1642, El Secreto a Voces, which translates as “The Noisy Secret.” The play was translated into other languages beginning in the latter-1700s. The plural form of open secret is open secrets.
It didn’t take long for Harry’s visits to become an open secret among the residents. (Glamour Magazine)
“They’re loving that the truth — which has been an open secret for years in the industry — is finally receiving more interest.” (US Magazine)
It’s an open secret that Manchester United are hoping to sign Jadon Sancho this transfer window, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer determined to snap him up. (The Daily Express)