explain away

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explain away

To try to minimize a problem or issue through explanation. A noun or pronoun can be used between "explain" and "away." He's trying to explain it away, but I know he lied to me.
See also: away, explain

explain something away

to explain something so that it is no longer a problem. You can try to explain it away if you want, but that won't solve the problem. You can't just explain away all your problems.
See also: away, explain

explain away

Dismiss or minimize the importance of something, especially something detrimental. For example, "His words were taken down, and though he tried to explain them away, he was sent to the Tower" (Thomas Macaulay, The History of England, 1855). [c. 1700]
See also: away, explain

explain away

v.
To dismiss or minimize the significance of something by explanation: The candidate tried to explain his earlier misstatements away. The researcher explained away the criticisms that were raised against her hypothesis.
See also: away, explain
References in periodicals archive ?
But the energy now being invested in explaining away the suffering of a nation of Americans like Betty Briggs would be better spent on finding ways to ease it.
Night Shyamalan) plots the movie to death (boredom can be terminal), explaining away Caroline's loopy Nancy Drew behavior by giving her a guilt complex over her father's death.
It has been reported that script- writers have found a way of bringing her back by explaining away Cindy's death as a hoax, where police faked her death as part of a witness protection programme.
THE walking wounded of Nenagh General Hospital will take some explaining away.
Tomjanovich did not seem overly concerned Monday, explaining away the problem as the growing pains of a young team still trying to find itself.
Zoe Ball explaining away her fascination for the DJ when she started working for the Big Breakfast.