Sweep Under the Rug

Posted on the 09 June 2021 by Idioms

sweep under the rug,
or, sweep under the carpet


  • try to hide a problem or keep a problem secret instead of dealing with it
  • to hide something - it can be a secret, embarrassing fact, or even literal dust
  • to ignore or deny something in order to keep that knowledge secret
  • to literally sweep up dust under a rug and to not clean

Example Sentences

  1. My father has helped me deal with things instead of sweeping them under the rug.
  2. I am not much interested in knowing my wife's past. It is better to sweep it under the carpet.
  3. I forgot to do my homework and got in trouble at school. I will attempt to sweep this under the rug by forging my mothers signature on the parent-teacher note.
  4. The company's human resources team attempts to sweep the scandal under the rug were not very successful.
  5. There are numerous problematic realities that we sweep under the carpet, one of them being child abuse.
  6. I'll just sweep this dust-up under the carpet. Nobody will know the difference.


No exact date can be pinpointed for the introduction of this saying to the English language, but most would agree it was in the early 1900s. It was born out of the idea of a maid or home keeper lazily sweeping the dirt under the rug rather than going through the work to actually clean up the dust. This idea is often depicted in Children's books and even the classic tale of Cinderella.

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