Keep the lid on something

Keep a/the lid on something

To control a situation very carefully, especially so that it does not cause problems

Keeping the lid on inflation
Kline keeps a very tight lid on his private life.

Keep a lid on

1 To keep (something secret) from being known

She tried to keep a lid on the news.

2 To control (something)
To keep (something) from becoming worse

The government has been unable to keep a lid on inflation.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Synonyms for keep the lid on?

Here’s a list of similar words from our thesaurus that you can use instead.


To restrain or to keep in check
To keep quiet about
To silence someone by gagging them, literally or figuratively
To set, or to serve as, a limit to

“Keep the lid on something”

can be appropriate in the context of scandals, wrongful convictions, or situations where information is being concealed or kept hidden.
It implies an effort to maintain secrecy or control over the details of a particular event or controversy.

For example:

  • “Authorities tried to keep the lid on the details of the British Post Office scandal.”
  • “There were attempts to keep the lid on the wrongful convictions to avoid public outcry.”


Using this expression suggests that there might be intentional efforts to withhold information or prevent the full disclosure of certain facts.
It can convey the idea of maintaining a cover-up or attempting to control the narrative surrounding a controversial issue.

In the context of scandals, wrongful convictions, or situations where information is being concealed, the phrase “keep the lid on something” would indeed be more appropriate. It conveys the idea that there is an effort to control or hide certain details. On the other hand, “keep a lid on it” is a more general expression used when trying to keep something under control or maintain secrecy, and it can be applicable in various contexts.

Both “keep the lid on something” and “keep a lid on something” are idiomatic expressions, and they are often used interchangeably. However, there can be slight nuances in their usage depending on the context.

  1. “Keep a lid on something”: This phrase generally means to keep something under control or to keep something quiet or secret. It’s often used in situations where there is a need to manage information or emotions.

    • Example: “We need to keep a lid on this until we have all the facts.”

  2. “Keep the lid on something”: This phrase is also used to convey the idea of maintaining control or secrecy, but it might imply a more specific or known situation where control needs to be maintained.

    • Example: “The company is trying to keep the lid on the details of the upcoming product launch.”

In many cases, the choice between the two phrases comes down to personal preference and the specific wording that fits your context. Both are widely used and understood in similar contexts. If you’re uncertain, you can choose the one that sounds more natural or fits better within the overall tone of your communication.

How Alan Bates uncovered what was wrong in the Horizon IT project

1 Post Office Scandal: The Full Story (So Far)

Back to menu
  IMPORTANT CONTENT  Listening recommended  Must ***

2 Post Office Board knew about Horizon system flaws and exclusive document show insurers were alerted

Back to menu   IMPORTANT CONTENT  Listening recommended  Must ***

3 Paula Vennells was ‘lying’ about Post Office scandal, claims forensic accountant

Back to menu  IMPORTENT CONTENT  Listening recommended   Must ***


23 jan 2024

It might have taken a drama to galvanise the response to a crisis – but the public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon scandal is gradually bringing more details to light, as hundreds of victims seek justice for their ruined lives.

The inquiry will be hoping to uncover more details when it examines a series of covert recordings. This programme has obtained a summary of some of the tapes – a meeting in 2013 between Post Office executives and the independent forensic accountants brought in to investigate.

Profond corruption

4 An inside look into the biggest miscarriage of justice in U.K history | 7 News Australia

Back to menu  IMPORTANT CONTENT  Listening recommended  Must ***

Jo Hamilton, 66, was one of more than 700 sub-postmasters prosecuted between 2000 and 2014, based on information from the Post Office’s faulty Horizon accounting system, which had been installed in branches across England and Wales. One of 73 people Hudgell Solicitors has since helped to clear their names, Mrs Hamilton was prosecuted for a shortfall in accounts of £36,000 in 2006, having being misled and told she was the only person facing issues with the accounting system. Like many others, she was repeatedly told to ‘put right’ shortfalls in accounts, leading to her remortgaging her home, and borrowing from friends to cover the amount which was alleged to have gone missing. She was eventually persuaded to plead guilty to a charge of false accounting – less serious than the initial charge of theft which she’d denied at an initial court hearing –to avoid going to jail.

6 From Pen Pals to Advocates For Justice: The David McCallum Story | Real Stories

Back to menu

7 Heavy Suitcase Prank

Back to menu


17 jun 2012

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT GUY AT 0:16 WEARING!! There’s also an actual prank in this video, although just a loop of that guy would have been enough. In this prank is about this old lady asking people to help her with her suitcase full of bricks!

A presentation of Hidden Camera Classics, the official Just For Laughs YouTube channel from the 70s and 80s! Some of the funniest, greatest, most amazing, most hilarious… and some terrible, hidden camera pranks from the past!