Open secret

Open secret is an idiom with an interesting origin. 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.

Examples

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)