What is the most suitable expression or idiom that can complete this sentence?

I want to do charity _________ (in secrecy) because I don't like showboating.

  • 2
    Idiomatically speaking, quietly fits the context well. It has the sense of not going to town with it. – Kris Jun 9 '17 at 9:37
  • (secretly or in secret, not in secrecy) – Drew Jun 9 '17 at 14:14
  • "Anonymous benefactor" is a common enough idiom to have become a bit of a cultural trope. – Michael Seifert Jun 9 '17 at 16:50




1. without any name acknowledged, as that of author, contributor, or the like: > an anonymous letter to the editor; an anonymous donation. 2. of unknown name; whose name is withheld: an anonymous author.

  • This does not cover the 'with good intention' aspect, and without this qualification, 'in secrecy' is hardly a suitable question on ELU. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 10 '17 at 2:31

Consider the following options.

I want to do charity discreetly because I don't like showboating.
I want to do charity without making a song and dance about it because I don't like showboating.


discreetly ADVERB

1 In a careful and prudent manner, especially in order to keep something confidential or to avoid embarrassment.

‘Gift-giving in courtship traditionally was handled discreetly, with men offering women small gifts on special occasions.’


make a song and dance about something/doing something (British & Australian)
to make something seem more important than it really is so that everyone notices it

He made a real song and dance about giving up meat.

Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006. Reproduced with permission.

  • I like discreetly but the song and dance option sounds flippant. – aparente001 Jun 15 '17 at 4:52

without [a] fanfare

  1. an ostentatious display.
  2. publicity.

(Random House)

Your sentence:

I want to do charity work, but without fanfare, because I don't like showboating.


I don't want to draw attention to myself. Or perhaps I'm reluctant to toot my own horn.

  • 1
    This doesn't fit the blank in the asker's sample sentence. – MetaEd Sep 13 '17 at 18:54

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