“Open Secret”: what does it mean and how did this expression appear?


We are used to the fact that the secret is valuable information that is best kept from outsiders. Secret is a serious matter. But when it comes to open secret, perception changes.

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What does the “Secret of the Open Sign” mean?

This phraseology denotes a certain secret, which is actually known to everyone. In the Russian language they say this “in secret to the whole world.” Let’s find out how such an unusual expression appeared with a French tint.

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How did the expression “open secret” appear?

The phrase “open secret” in French looks like “Le secret de Polichinelle”. Such a frivolous secret is connected with the name of the character of the French folk theater. There he is called Polichinelle, but the name was borrowed from the Italian hero of the comedy of masks Pulcinella. Russian analogue can be called the jester Petrushka.

This character is a stupid and talkative hunchback servant. This buffoon, scoffer and badass as a secret told everyone the obvious and well-known things. The character of the fair theaters was at the end of the 16th century, and in the next century this hero appeared in Moliere’s comedy “The Imaginary Sick”.

How did the expression

An open secret is not just a secret that everyone knows and pretends to be a secret, but also information that remains inaccessible to the most stupid. In one of the popular stories, Polisinel’s wife, Colombina, is cheating on him with Arlekino. All the characters in the play know about this “secret”. It’s just that our hero himself doesn’t guess about the betrayal, although just need to ask any person from his circle about this.

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