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 ?
Ideally, that's how disclosure would work: some nit-picking watchdog, sifting through the public record, detects an apparent conflict; he calls it to the attention of the journalist or his editor; the conflict is explained away, and the watchdog, slightly sheepish, concludes the interview; or, if the conflict isn't adequately explained, the journalist is hung out to dry.
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.
The board's chairman, Owen Newcomer, explained away the accusations as just ``poor bookkeeping,'' and blamed a former financial officer who apparently wasn't capable in financial management.
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.
Neds' crimes are explained away because of their family backgrounds.
This cannot be explained away in a haze of postmodern double coding.
perhaps through willed ignorance, or were explained away by many of the American bishops and clergy.
Lott suggests here that many whites' contradictory desire to be black (by imitation) and to distance themselves from blackness (by caricature) has been a recurring strain in American culture, and cannot be explained away as simply racist.
In the unlikely event that these tactics prove insufficient to justify NAFTA--or when poor economic results can no longer be obscured or explained away with "shocks"--the guardians of free trade will employ their ultimate rationalization: arguing from deep paradigm conviction, neoclassical economists and conservative politicians will claim that NAFTA's benefits will be realized in the "long run,' which, for them, is simply the period of time needed for the promised theoretical results to be realized--no more, no less, and certainly not today.
Others simply started up too gradually or lasted too long to be explained away as instrument glitches or satellite glints.
With diabetes education and testing, warning signs that might otherwise be missed or explained away can be detected, taken seriously and evaluated.
WEAKNESS ON ONE SIDE Strokes can be scary and most people know to call 999 when they can't talk or they can't stop drooling, but weakness on one side and not the other is often explained away as nothing more than a pinched nerve.
For it is insulting thatWAG seem to think that an issue, of great importance to many people in the area, can be explained away by such a statement.
Although it was explained away as a procedure in its infancy, these ``doctors'' knew what it would produce.