paper over (something)

paper over (something)

To repair, conceal, or cover up something on a superficial level, without addressing underlying problems. The company papered over the catastrophe with empty promises and an unnecessary investigation, but the circumstances that led to the tragic accident have yet to be addressed. They papered over the cracks in their relationship by traveling as often as possible.
See also: over, paper

paper over the cracks

To conceal something, usually a problem or issue, so that a situation seems better than it really is. Although they tried to paper over the cracks while we were visiting, you could just feel the tension between them.
See also: crack, over, paper

paper over something

 
1. Lit. to put a layer of wallpaper on a wall. We papered over the wall, giving the room a bright, new look. We papered over the old plaster on the wall.
2. to cover up some sort of blemish on a wall with wallpaper. We papered over a lot of little cracks. Sam papered over all the flaws in the plaster wall.
3. Fig. to conceal something; to cover something up. Don't try to paper over the mess you have made. George tried to paper over all his mistakes.
See also: over, paper

paper over the cracks (in something)

Fig. to try to hide faults or difficulties, often in a hasty or not very successful way. (Based on paper over something {2}.) The politician tried to paper over the cracks in his party's economic policy. Tom tried to paper over the cracks in his relationship with the boss, but it was not possible. She didn't explain it. She just papered over the cracks.
See also: crack, over, paper

paper over

Also, paper over the cracks. Repair superficially, conceal, especially flaws. For example, He used some accounting gimmicks to paper over a deficit, or It was hardly a perfect settlement, but they decided to paper over the cracks. The German statesman Otto von Bismarck first used this analogy in a letter in 1865, and the first recorded example in English, in 1910, referred to it. The allusion is to covering cracked plaster with wallpaper, thereby improving its appearance but not the underlying defect.
See also: over, paper

paper over the cracks

mainly BRITISH
COMMON If someone papers over the cracks, they try to hide the fact that there are major problems with something rather than admit the truth and deal with it. Robertson accused the hospital management of trying to paper over the cracks. Couples sometimes try to paper over the cracks even when their relationship is in terrible trouble.
See also: crack, over, paper

paper over the cracks

disguise problems or divisions rather than trying to solve them.
The phrase is a translation of a German expression used by the statesman Otto von Bismarck in a letter of 1865 , and early uses refer to this.
See also: crack, over, paper

ˌpaper over the ˈcracks

try to hide a problem or disagreement in a way that is temporary and not likely to be successful: These new prison reforms are just papering over the cracks. What we need is a fundamental change in the prison system.
This expression refers to putting wallpaper on a wall in order to hide the cracks in the plaster.
See also: crack, over, paper

paper over

v.
1. To cover something unpleasant, such as a blemish on a wall, with paper: He papered over the cracks in the ceiling. She papered the walls over to hide the stains.
2. To put or keep something out of sight; downplay something: The accountant papered the deficit over with questionable calculations. The principal papered over the school's problem with drugs when questioned by the press.
See also: over, paper