I wonder if there is an idiom for "making someone reveal their secret" by acting or speaking to them in a cunning way. Let's suppose X does not want to tell his colleagues the real reason why he is leaving the company, but at a party, one colleague eventually manages to ----(idiom), and it turns out that X has been offered a much higher position somewhere else...

2 Answers 2


Draw it out of him/her/them is a phrase that can be used to describe the process of extracting information from someone when they are reluctant to reveal it. It somewhat connotes persistent attempts to get the information which finally succeed, rather than getting the information by force or trickery.

Bob didn't want to tell his colleagues the real reason why he was leaving the company, but someone eventually managed to draw it out of him.


That idea is often expressed in terms of worming desired information out of someone.

The somewhat unsavory associations of the word worm as a noun do deliver here some negative connotations (one might be employing trickery, flattery, deceit). Another element of the imagery is that worms typically go about their business out of sight—beneath the soil, under the bark of a tree, inside one’s body—and this carries over in the metaphor in the sense that the holder of the information may remain unaware of their inquisitors’ attempts to obtain it.

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