What Does Better Keep Quiet About It Mean?

Better Keep Quiet About It Meaning

Definition: Do not discuss what you know.

This phrase would be said to someone who knows a secret that others do not want him or her to share. While it can be used as a command, as in “you better keep quiet about this,” it is also commonly shortened to the phrase “keep quiet.”

To “keep quiet” about something means more than being literally quiet; it means to not talk about something at all.
 

Origin of Better Keep Quiet About It

keep quiet bookThis phrase most likely came from a translation of a German phrase meaning “to keep silent.” It has been used in writing since at least the 1950s.

Examples of Better Keep Quiet About It

keep quiet nothing comes as easy as youMost of the time, this phrase is preceded by the word “you,” so as to tell someone, “you had better keep quiet about it.” This could either be a simple suggestion or a threat.

An example of it being used as a suggestion would be if someone were to know that a friend had lost his job recently. The friend may be advised “Better keep quiet about his job loss next time you see him.” because it could hurt the friend’s feelings to talk about losing his job.

When used as a threat, it is usually part of the phrase, “you had better keep quiet, or else.” This implies that something bad will happen if the conversation continues onward.

More Examples

  • “[If you catch a friend cheating on her husband] This is not a friend to hold on to. So the prospective loss of this friendship — already well underway — isn’t much of a reason to keep quiet.” –New York Times
  • “Susan Bradley, a Florida certified financial planner who started the Sudden Money Institute, said it’s a good thing Texas allows winners to keep quiet about striking it rich.” –Houston Chronicle

Summary

Better keep quiet about it means to keep a secret or not discuss something.