hide one's light under a bushel



An allusion to teachings of Jesus Christ in the gospels of Matthew (5:14–15), Mark (4:21–25) and Luke (8:16–18).


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hide one's light under a bushel

  1. (idiomatic) To conceal one's talents or positive qualities, especially due to modesty or shyness; to avoid attention.
    • 1910, P. G. Wodehouse, "Pillingshot, Detective":
      "[Y]ou've got a bright, intelligent face. I shouldn't wonder if you weren't rather clever. Why do you hide your light under a bushel?"
    • 1950, "The Congress: The Elephant Hunt," Time, 13 March:
      "If he has ever hidden his light under a bushel, I am not aware of it. I have not observed that he is of the shrinking-violet type . . ."
    • 2007, Joanna Moorhead, "Sisters vow to end their silence," guardian.co.uk, (retrieved 7 Sept. 2009):
      "British soroptimists have hidden their light under a bushel: there's a feeling here that we shouldn't seek publicity because we'd be drawing attention to ourselves."


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