In Brazil, the expression "to hide the gold" (Portuguese: "esconder o ouro") is used to express that someone is hiding his/her own talents or wealth, for modesty or because he/she doesn't want to be bothered because of those talents or wealth. Is the same expression used in English with the same meaning? If not, which's an equivalent expression?

4 Answers 4


You could say, they're trying to blend in with the crowd (go unnoticed).

Alternately, the expression keep a low profile might fit the bill.

keep a low profile: to stay out of public notice, avoid attracting attention to oneself. This expression alludes to profile in the sense of "a visible contour," a usage dating from the 1600s. [Late 1900s] The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer

It’s therefore interesting to note that those individuals who achieve fame and success on a long-term basis are those who have managed to live life with a great deal of humility and more importantly, to blend in with the crowd. They understand the abovementioned dangers and thus have often made efforts to steer clear of them by remaining humble. It’s quite an irony when you think about it because humble people usually keep a low profile when they communicate and thus they should have a lower chance of securing success for themselves, as compared to a more vocal individual who flaunt their strengths whenever opportunities arise Writing for Maximum Impact


In light of your comments below, consider using keep one's cards close to the vest/chest to fit your examples.

play one's cards close to one's chest and play one's cards close to one's vest; keep one's cards close to one's chest; keep one's cards close to one's vest

Fig. to keep to oneself or be very cautious in one's dealing with people. (As if one were playing cards and not permitting anyone to see any of the cards.) He is very cautious. He plays his cards close to his chest. You seem to be playing your cards close to your vest. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

  • Those expressions seem very similar. I would like to know if they would apply to these situations like Brazilian "hide the gold": 1. Carl is a student. He is very good at drawing. He has a group homework to do that include making a lot of drawing. He doesn't mention his ability to the other students of his group because he doesn't want to make all drawings himself. Finally, they note that his drawing are really better than other students' ones, so one of the other student say to him: "So, you were hiding the gold! From now on, you make all drawings!" Dec 22, 2015 at 12:50
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    @LeonardoCastro 3. Miguel Reale Jr. and his wife, a wealthy Brazilian couple, love taking a vacation to France every year. When they visit, they usually stay at exclusive hotels, but prefer to travel across the country in a plain Renault Clio rental to avoid calling attention to themselves. Actually, they could afford an upper scale car (no doubt about that), but they prefer to go with a plain compact so as to "blend in with the crowd," either because they are humble people, or they just don't want to stick out and be bothered about their wealth.
    – Elian
    Dec 22, 2015 at 14:06
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    Interesting! The expression "blend in with the crowd" gives me the impression that it is only applied to celebrities (Miguel Reale Jr. is kind of a celebrity although not even in Brazil [maybe less in Brazil] very known by the general population). On the other hand, "hiding the gold" could apply even to a hodman hiding his dessert from his coworkers. Is "to blend in with the crowd" usable by anyone? Or is "hiding the gold", and accusing other of doing so, a distinctive feature of Brazilian behavior? Dec 22, 2015 at 15:30
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    @LeonardoCastro As an aside, the expression "blend in with the crowd" is not only applied to celebrities. For example, if I were to go on a walk through the favela Santa Marta in RJ, I guess I would avoid wearing things or behaving in a way that might call attention to myself. Instead, I would keep a low profile and have simple, casual clothes on to blend in with the crowd/surroundings.
    – Elian
    Dec 22, 2015 at 20:56
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    @LeonardoCastro Not necessarily. Consider a bourgeois urbanite moving to a small Wisconsin town. They might feel the need to go with a new style of clothing, trade their Jaguar for a more modest car, etc., in order to blend in with the crowd/their new settings. If they didn't do so, they might well attract attention to themselves, or worse, get the evil eye ("olho gordo") from the locals...
    – Elian
    Dec 23, 2015 at 13:25

I've never heard "hide the gold" in English. I think I'd say "hide one's talents." But we do sometimes use the expression "hide your light under a bushel," a reference to Matthew 5:15. "Bushel" here means "container," not the unit of volume.


From Matthew 5.15: to hide one’s lamp [or light] under a bushel. The expression is applied more to the modest concealment of extraordinary abilities than of wealth, though, and often with a hint of reproach.

This is attested (and glossed) as a common expression in British English at Cambridge, and in American English as well via Free Dictionary citing McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs.


"To hide gold" is not an idiomatic expression in the English language, though talent (originally a unit of weight for gold) has long been used to mean aptitude by reference to the parable of the talents, as discussed above. It may be that some of the sense of the Brazilian idiom could be captured by the phrase "still waters run deep" -- but the overlap is at most partial, and there may be no overlap at all.

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