Meaning: secretive. Use examples.
Rewrite 1: holds his cards close to his heart
Rewrite 2: files his notes under “top secret”
Rewrite 3: reads his mail in a dark, shrouded room
Rewrite 4: writes his secrets in code
Comment: Most references I found to this cliché gave its meaning a dark, sinister tone, so I have tried to stay in that connotationn2b. However, there are many other times when you might be secretive about something – say, a closely guarded family recipe – for which this would cliché could apply without implying a negative.
More reading about clichés
What I found when I googled “clichés”:
• Newsobserver.com : Triangle Grammar Guide: “Your online peer-to-peer grammar class…”
Note: By providing links to other websites I am only showing you what is out there about clichés – I am not endorsing any content or opinion expressed there.
Check out the searchable alphabetical list of all my cliché rewrites available in the archive list at the right.