Secrecy (also called clandestinity or furtiveness) is the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups, perhaps while sharing it with other individuals. That which is kept hidden is known as the secret. Secrecy is often controversial, depending on the content of the secret, the group or people keeping the secret, and the motivation for secrecy. Secrecy by government entities is often decried as excessive or in promotion of poor operation; excessive revelation of information on individuals can conflict with virtues of privacy and confidentiality.
- Truly your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets, because you were able to reveal this secret.
- As for you, Daniel, keep the words secret, and seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.
- Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
- Attributed to John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
- I request that they may be considered in confidence, until the members of Congress are fully possessed of their contents, and shall have had opportunity to deliberate on the consequences of their publication; after which time, I submit them to your wisdom.
- John Adams, message to both houses of Congress transmitting dispatches from France (April 3, 1798); in Charles Francis Adams, ed., The Works of John Adams (1854), vol. 9, p. 158.
- Est rosa flos Veneris cujus quo furta laterent.
- As given in Burmann's Anthologia, Book V. 217. (1778). Sub rosa. Under the rose (i.e., secretly). The rose was emblematic of secrecy with the ancients. Cupid bribed Harpocrates, god of silence, with a rose, not to divulge the amours of Venus. Hence a host hung a rose over his tables that his guests might know that under it words spoken were to remain secret. Harpocrates is Horus, god of the rising sun. Found in Gregory Nazianzen Carmen (Ed. 1611), Volume II, p. 27.
- A secret remains a secret until you make someone promise never to reveal it.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2013, p. 17.
- I believe that the public temper is such that the voters of the land are prepared to support the party which gives the best promise of administering the government in the honest, simple, and plain manner which is consistent with its character and purposes. They have learned that mystery and concealment in the management of their affairs cover tricks and betrayal. The statesmanship they require consists in honesty and frugality, a prompt response to the needs of the people as they arise, and a vigilant protection of all their varied interests.
- Grover Cleveland, letter accepting nomination as the Democratic candidate for president (August 8, 1884), The Writings and Speeches of Grover Cleveland (1892), p. 13.
- Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.
- If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.
- Secrecy is the first essential in affairs of state.
- Cardinal Richelieu “Maxims,” Testament Politique (1641)
- If you have hitherto conceal'd this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still.
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue.
- But that I am forbid,
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul.
- Two may keep counsel, putting one away.
- Two may keep counsel when the third's away.
- Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all.
- Sophocles, Hipponous, fragment 280.
- Tacitum vivit sub pectore vulnus.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 695-96.
- For this thing was not done in a corner.
- Acts, XXVI. 26.
- A man can hide all things, excepting twain—
That he is drunk, and that he is in love.
- Antiphanes, Fragmenta. See Meineke's Fragmenta Comicorum Græcorum, Volume III, p. 3. Seq. Also in Didot's Poet. Com. Græ., p. 407.
- When we desire to confine our words, we commonly say they are spoken under the rose.
- For thre may kepe a counsel, if twain be awaie.
- The secret things belong unto the Lord our God.
- Deuteronomy, XXIX. 29.
- As witnesses that the things were not done in a corner.
- Gen. Thomas Harrison, defence at his trial, Account of the Trial of Twenty Regicides (1660), p. 39.
- Arcanum neque tu scrutaveris ullius unquam, commissumve teges et vino tortus et ira.
- Never inquire into another man's secret; but conceal that which is intrusted to you, though pressed both by wine and anger to reveal it.
- Horace, Epistles, I. 18. 37.
- There is a skeleton on every house.
- Saying from story in Italian Tales of Humour, Gallantry and Romance.
- L'on confie son secret dans l'amitié, mais il échappe dans l'amour.
- We trust our secrets to our friends, but they escape from us in love.
- Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères, IV.
- Toute révélation d'un secret est la faute de celui qui l'a confié.
- When a secret is revealed, it is the fault of the man who confided it.
- Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères, V.
- Rien ne pèse tant qu'un secret:
Le porter loin est difficile aux dames;
Et je sais même sur ce fait
Bon nombre d'hommes que sont femmes.
- Nothing is so oppressive as a secret: women find it difficult to keep one long; and I know a goodly number of men who are women in this regard.
- Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, VIII. 6.
- How can we expect another to keep our secret if we cannot keep it ourselves.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims. No. 90.
- Vitæ poscænia celant.
- Men conceal the past scenes of their lives.
- Lucretius, Re Rerum Natura, IV, 1,182.
- Nothing is secret which shall not be made manifest.
- Luke, VIII. 17.
- I have play'd the fool, the gross fool, to believe
The bosom of a friend will hold a secret
Mine own could not contain.
- Philip Massinger, Unnatural Combat, Act V, scene 2.
- A secret at home is like rocks under tide.
- Dinah Craik, Magnus and Morna, scene 2.
- Wer den kleinsten Theil eines Geheimnisses hingibt, hat den andern nicht mehr in der Gewalt.
- He who gives up the smallest part of a secret has the rest no longer in his power.
- Jean Paul Richter, Titon, Zykel 123.
- Tell it not in Gath; publish it not in the streets of Askelon.
- I Samuel. I. 20.
- Alium silere quod voles, primus sile.
- If you wish another to keep your secret, first keep it yourself.
- Seneca the Younger, Hippolytus, 876. Also St. Martin of Braga.
- Latere semper patere, quod latuit diu.
- Leave in concealment what has long been concealed.
- Seneca the Younger, Œdipus, 826.
- Under the rose, since here are none but friends,
(To own the truth) we have some private ends.
- Jonathan Swift, Epilogue to a Benefit Play for the Distressed Weavers.
- Miserum est tacere cogi, quod cupias loqui.
- You are in a pitiable condition when you have to conceal what you wish to tell.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- Let your left hand turn away what your right hand attracts.
- Talmud, Sota, 47.