cover (one's) back

(redirected from cover their backs)

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 classic literature ?
Amongst these central tribes the men generally have an otter-skin, or some small scrap about as large as a pocket-handkerchief, which is barely sufficient to cover their backs as low down as their loins.
Anxious to cover their backs, another email from Barclays, anti-money laundering manager advises: "We must be in a position to defend ourselves should the worst case scenario ever occur and they fail to meet obligations to deliver orders.
They cower behind health and safety laws, pretending they enforce them for our own good, but we know they make them up to cover their backs.
It's obvious that Barwick's bumblers have done it to cover their backs in case the Capello appointment turns out to be another disaster.
So, to cover their backs Ladbrokes are offering 100/1 on Cowell taking the role.