I’ve Got a [Paternity] Secret

Do I have a secret? [Noun] No.

Did my parents keep secret the circumstances of my conception? Yes.

Were they aware that mom came to their relationship with a pregnancy? No.

Did my mother deceive my father about her pregnancy. No.

Did my parents create our family through deception? No.

Did my parents create a deceptive “origin of our family” narrative? Yes.

Have I been angry about the secret? No.

Have I ached knowing costs to them of hiding their truths? Yes.

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  9 January 1957


Origin: Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin secretus (adjective) ‘separate, set apart’, from the verb secernere, from se- ‘apart’ + cernere ‘sift’.

Denotative: a piece of information that is not generally known or is not known by someone else and should not be told to others:

  • Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.

‘a state secret’

‘at first I tried to keep it a secret from my wife’

confidential, confidence, private affair, skeleton in the closet
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  • Something that is not properly understood; a mystery.

I’m not trying to explain the secrets of the universe in this book’

mystery, enigma, problem, paradox, puzzle, conundrum, poser, riddle, question, 

  • A valid but not commonly known or recognized method of achieving or maintaining something.

‘the secret of a happy marriage is compromise’

recipe, formula, blueprint, magic formula, key, answer, solution


  • not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others.

“how did you guess I had a secret plan?”

synonyms: confidential, restricted, unrevealed, undisclosed, unpublished, untold, unknown, uncommunicated, behind someone’s back, under wraps, unofficial, off the record, not for publication/circulation, not to be made public, not to be disclosed

antonyms: known, public, visible, overt, open, known about

  • not meant to be known as such by others.

“a secret drinker”

synonyms: clandestine, covert, undercover, underground, hidden, shrouded, conspiratorial, surreptitious, stealthy, cloak-and-dagger, hole-and-corner, closet

  • fond of or good at keeping things about oneself unknown.

“he can be the most secret man”

synonyms: uncommunicative, secretive, unforthcoming, reticent, private, media-shy, taciturn, silent, noncommunicative, quiet, tight-lipped, close-mouthed, close, playing one’s cards close to one’s chest, clamlike, reserved, introvert, introverted, self-contained, discreet

antonyms: open, communicative, chatty


  • Deliberately cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, especially for personal gain.

‘I didn’t intend to deceive people into thinking it was French champagne’

synonyms: swindle, defraud, cheat, trick, hoodwink, hoax, dupe, take in, mislead, delude, fool, outwit, misguide, lead on, inveigle, seduce, ensnare, entrap, beguile, double-cross, gull

  • give (someone) a mistaken impression.

‘the area may seem to offer nothing of interest, but don’t be deceived’

  • deceive oneself; fail to admit to oneself that something is true.

‘it was no use deceiving herself any longer—she loved him with all her heart’

  • Be sexually unfaithful to (one’s regular partner)

‘he had deceived her with another woman’

synonyms: be unfaithful to, be disloyal to, be untrue to, be inconstant to, cheat on, cheat, betray, break one’s promise to, play someone false, fail, let down


  • The action of deceiving someone.
synonyms: deceit, deceitfulness, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, cheating, trickery, duping, hoodwinking, chicanery, underhandedness, deviousness, slyness, cunning, craft, craftiness, wiliness, artfulness, guile, dissimulation, dissembling, bluff, bluffing, lying, pretence, artifice, treachery
trick, stratagem, device, ruse, scheme, dodge, manoeuvre, contrivance, machination, subterfuge, cheat, swindle, confidence trick


  • appearance or impression different from the true one; misleading.
synonyms: misleading, illusory, illusive, illusionary, ambiguous, deceiving, delusive, distorted, specious
deceitful, duplicitous, fraudulent, counterfeit, sham, bogus, cheating, underhand, cunning, crafty, sly, guileful, scheming, perfidious, treacherous, machiavellian, dissembling, disingenuous, untrustworthy, unscrupulous, unprincipled, dishonest, untruthful, lying, mendacious, insincere, false


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