Definition of skeleton at the feast in English:

skeleton at the feast


  • A person or thing that brings gloom or sadness to an otherwise pleasant or celebratory occasion.

    ‘The party has become used to such phantom presences: for the past four years, its former idol appeared like the proverbial ghost at the feast to deliver his speech, take the plaudits, yet shun the centre stage.’
    • ‘It is also the ghost at the feast of much polite society in Northern Ireland.’
    • ‘But his eyes were drawn nevertheless to the filthy bundle of rags, the skeleton at the feast.’