cover (one's) back

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cover (one's) back

To act in order to avoid blame or responsibility for something or prevent oneself from experiencing negative consequences. I immediately covered my back by saying that I wasn't home when the puppy got out.
See also: back, cover

cover your back

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

cover your ass

AMERICAN, RUDE
If you do something in order to cover your back, you do it in order to protect yourself, for example against criticism or against accusations of doing something wrong. He had covered his back by persuading Evans, chairman of their finance committee, to provide a written approval for the contract. Newspaper editors have to cover their backs against accusations of libel.
See also: back, cover

cover your back

foresee and avoid the possibility of attack or criticism. informal
See also: back, cover

cover your ˈback

(informal) (American English also cover your ˈass taboo, slang) realize that you may be attacked or criticized for something later and make sure you avoid this: Cover your back by getting everything in writing. OPPOSITE: (lay/leave yourself) wide open (to something)
See also: back, cover
References in periodicals archive ?
Simply set the cover back in place, replace the four bolts, and the tonneau cover is ready to go.
I was excited to see the Rolling Huts in Methow Valley, Washington, featured on your cover back in December 2010, This past winter, we finally got our chance to stay in them.
He sweeps his hand across the crumbs on the table, sticks the cellophane cover back over the jam jar and fumbles the elastic band over it.
Mr Edwards said the 24-year-old told officers he was "just putting the cover back on", but there was a pungent smell of gas in the air.
Inaccuracy of the cover back with comparing with book back thickness.
Versatile back row Thomas Anderson is named in the squad and, having played second row at Irish schools level, could cover back row and the second row if needed.
Incredibly, when Northumbrian Water engineers arrived to put the drain cover back on, they worked out that the nearest point where the ducklings could have got into the surface water sewer was two miles away, near the Three Mile Inn on the Great North Road.
At the moment it looks like a moonscape; it's going to take five years to get the vegetation cover back and at least 10 years before it's back to what it was before the fire.
Then Tigers' scrum half Chris Leck burst away from a ruck deep in his own territory and kicked over the home defence only for Reece Spee to cover back.