bend/stretch the rules

bend the rules

To allow something to be done which is technically against the rules or not normally accepted. It's galling to know that the management team, who are so strict with the lower-level employees, all bend the rules to give themselves more vacation time and bigger bonuses. You're normally not allowed to take an exam if you arrive late, but because of the student's excuse, his teacher bent the rules for him.
See also: bend, rule

stretch the rules

To allow something to be done which is technically against the rules or not normally accepted. It's galling to know that the management team, who are so strict with the lower-level employees, all stretch the rules to give themselves more vacation time and bigger bonuses. You're normally not allowed to take an exam if you arrive late, but because of the student's excuse, his teacher stretched the rules for him.
See also: rule, stretch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

bend the rules

COMMON If you bend the rules, you do something which is not allowed, either to help someone else or for your own advantage. The river authorities said they were willing to bend the rules for us and allowed us to go ahead. The rules are often bent to ensure a good show. Note: You can also say that you stretch the rules. He accused the company of stretching the sport's rules to the limit.
See also: bend, rule
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

bend/stretch the ˈrules

allow somebody to break the rules to some extent because you think there is a good reason: We don’t normally employ people over 50, but in your case we’re prepared to bend the rules a little.
See also: bend, rule, stretch
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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