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 ?
Stop trying to explain away the figures and get to the root of this disease once and for all.
The finished product was not meant as a compilation of texts which would explain away his own character, although he admits that his own personality weaves itself in and out of the selections made, but a guide to those books which helped to shape his life.
McCullough sandpapers Adams' rough edges, and works too hard to explain away his uglier moments.
Despite the stark differences in their perspectives and approaches, Schaler's polemic, Addiction Is a Choice, and Marlowe's memoir, How to Stop Time: Heroin From A to Z, come to strikingly similar conclusions about the nature of addiction, a term that is hauled out with alarming frequency these days to explain away irresponsibility and justify paternalism.
The millions of years a message from earth would take to reach M13 may explain away a lot of theological issues, such as the problem of evil.
In any case, there are certainly a number of other candidates for a list of "Middle East madmen" that would be much harder to explain away and we will know real progress has been made in acquainting American readers with the realities of the Middle East when it is possible to include without fear of retribution (or lawsuits) the likes of Ariel Sharon among them.
Big bank boosters explain away a portion of that asset gap through the movement of money to off-balance sheet accounts.
His daughter, Shivaun O'Casey, in opposing a non-primary residence holdover proceeding, recently spun her own story in Civil Court, attempting to explain away both eyewitness testimony and documentary evidence placing her outside the New York apartment.
In the end, "chronicity proved more durable than reform," as the category of chronicity itself was used by the professional community to explain away its failures.
The purely critical instinct aims to chop up, reduce, and explain away any object.
As Nicola Sturgeon shuffled her papers, only education minister Mike Russell honked his support as Salmond tried to explain away his comments.
Cabinet ministers try to explain away the debilitating splits as the inevitable stresses and strains of power-sharing and dress them up as honest, principled debate.
They all deserve the highest praise, unlike the leader and deputy leader of the city council, who as far as I could tell, left their juniors in the lurch to attempt to explain away what had happened in the media.BERNARD PARRY, Handsworth Wood
HOW much longer can the Government explain away its fruitless efforts in Afghanistan by saying it''s to protect Britain against terrorist attacks on its home soil?
Hamilton was able to explain away the pictures and accompanying stories, which he concedes "disappointed" him.