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 ?
But, of course, Tudor's genius cannot be explained away by particular world trends.
I would like to communicate a taste of the rich inner world of transcendence to those so enamored of the intellect as the sole arbiter of reality that the very existence of spiritual experiences is doubted or denied--or else explained away psychologically, neurologically, or culturally as something inferior and indeed delusionary.
Less extravagant than feminine fashion but still complexly coded in its minute specificities was male dress, mostly unexamined here, its secondary significance explained away in Wilde's complaint that contemporary male costume was no more than a 'frame' or dark border used to isolate and separate woman's dresses.
"There's a tremendous brain cancer cluster [in Guilford]," says Brodeur, "and it can't just be explained away or studied to death.
It was explained away as the natural evolutionary process of environmental pruning, survival of the fittest trees within the overpopulated groves.
"Anomalous effects have been seen often enough that the phenomena can't be explained away as artifacts," says Charles D.
P&G has not yet explained away the tumors and liver changes seen in rat tests.
Marcos had charged that massive cheating and automated fraud favored Robredo following the script change, but this was explained away by poll officials and experts as a cosmetic modification to correct name spellings.
Ross Kellett, a UFO expert who has travelled to the region several times to study unexplained sightings, said there had been too many for them all to be easily explained away.
"The unease about the present and pessimism about the future which we uncovered as we travelled and talked to many people inside and outside education cannot so easily be explained away.
Keir, of Inverness, also warned that suicide bids can sometimes be too easily explained away as "cries for help".
Many of the women spent their lives believing they had been deserted, and explained away their embarrassment by claiming their husbands had drowned at sea.
Subsequent defeats can be explained away - he finds seven furlongs too far and is not at his best on easy ground.