get out of jail free card


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get out of jail free card

1. (sometimes hyphenated) Something that will immediately resolve or relieve an undesirable situation, especially that which results in no or minimal consequences. A reference to the board game Monopoly, in which this card allows players to leave the jail space without missing a turn. I'm afraid there's no get out of jail free card when it comes to your taxes—you either pay them, or you pay the fine. Jonathan used his father's position in politics as a get-out-of-jail-free card to help get his drunk driving charge dismissed.
2. (sometimes hyphenated) Something that allows or is used as an excuse for poor decisions, results, standards, behavior, etc. Just because a book is part of a highly regarded series doesn't mean it has some get out of jail free card allowing it to be formulaic and poorly written.
See also: card, free, get, jail, of, out