closet case



  • noun a homosexual who conceals his or her homosexuality; the second version of the phrase refers only to men. Originally part of underground gay terminology, this phrase became well known in the early 1970s when many previously secretive homosexuals decided to come out. The term was first widely used in the USA although its precise time and place of origin is obscure. The connection between closet and secrecy is obvious; compare the phrase with the well-known ‘skeleton in the cupboard’.