What Does Carry a Secret to the Grave Mean?

Carry It To Your Grave Meaning

Definition: To keep a secret for the rest of your life.

When people tell secrets, they expect them to be kept for a long time. In order to promise that a secret will not be told, many people claim they will carry a secret to the grave. Sometimes, before telling a secret, people will tell the other person he or she must carry the secret to the grave.

If you carry a secret to the grave, you are holding on to that secret throughout your entire life. You are only done keeping the secret when you are dead in your grave.

Although the phrase means that you keep the secret throughout your whole life, people sometimes use to carry a secret to the grave as an exaggerated way of asking others to keep a secret for a very long time but not necessarily forever.

Origin of To Carry a Secret to the Grave

define carry secrets to your graveThere is no certain origin of this phrase.

Many people associate it with magicians because the best magicians reportedly never tell the secrets behind their tricks. Therefore, a good magician would take his secrets to the grave.

It is also possible to take other things to the grave by holding on to them for a long time. For example, someone who holds a grudge would take resentment to the grave.

Examples of To Carry a Secret to the Grave

meaning of carry secrets to your graveIf someone has a major secret, he may tell you only if you promise to take the secret to your grave.

For example, someone might say,

I really don’t like spending time with my wife’s sister, but my wife loves her. You have to take that secret to your grave and never tell anyone.

A response might be, “I will take it to my grave.”

More Examples

  • For $3,000, would you tell a deep, dark secret your best friend told you? I will take it to the grave. –CNN
  • One man is taking his undying love of Duke’s Mayonnaise to the grave. –ABC


To take a secret to the grave is to never tell the secret.