turn a blind eye/deaf ear, to

turn a blind eye

To knowingly ignore some wrongdoing. Can't you just turn a blind eye to this little incident, instead of telling Mom and Dad? Regulators turned a blind eye to those infractions, and thousands of consumers suffered for it.
See also: blind, eye, turn

turn a blind eye (to someone or something)

Fig. to ignore something and pretend you do not see it. The usher turned a blind eye to the little boy who sneaked into the theater. How can you turn a blind eye to all those starving children?
See also: blind, eye, turn

turn a deaf ear (to someone or something)

to ignore what someone says; to ignore a cry for help. How can you just turn a deaf ear to their cries for food and shelter? Jack turned a deaf ear to our pleading.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a deaf ear

Refuse to listen, as in You can plead all day but he's turning a deaf ear to everyone. This expression dates from the first half of the 1400s and was in most proverb collections from 1546 on. Also see fall on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a blind eye

COMMON If you turn a blind eye to something bad that is happening, you deliberately ignore it because you do not want to take any action over it. The authorities were turning a blind eye to human rights abuses. She chose to turn a blind eye to what she suspected was going on. You're not trying to suggest I should turn a blind eye and forget all about it? Note: This expression was first used to describe the action of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. When told that he was being ordered to withdraw, he put a telescope to his blind eye and said that he could not see the signal. He went on to win the battle.
See also: blind, eye, turn

turn a deaf ear

If you turn a deaf ear to something such as a request or argument, you refuse to consider it and do not pay any attention to it. She repeatedly complained to her employers but they turned a deaf ear. The Mayor of Paris, owner of two dogs, has long turned a deaf ear to Parisians who want tougher laws to protect the cleanliness of their pavements.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a blind eye

pretend not to notice.
This phrase is said to be a reference to Admiral Horatio Nelson ( 1758–1805 ), who lifted a telescope to his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen ( 1801 ), thereby ensuring that he failed to see his superior's signal to discontinue the action. A less usual version, referring directly to this story, is turn a Nelson eye .
See also: blind, eye, turn

turn a blind ˈeye (to something)

pretend not to see something or know about something: There’s so much suffering in the world, you can’t just turn a blind eye to it.The police here seem to turn a blind eye to petty crime. OPPOSITE: watch somebody/something like a hawk
See also: blind, eye, turn

turn a deaf ˈear (to something)

refuse to listen (to something); ignore something: She turned a deaf ear to her husband’s advice and took the job anyway.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a blind eye/deaf ear, to

To overlook something deliberately. One of these expressions appears to have a specific historic origin. In 1801 Lord Horatio Nelson, second in command of the English fleet, was besieging Copenhagen. The flagship had sent up signals for the fleet to withdraw, but Nelson wanted badly to attack. He had lost the sight of one eye at Calvi, so he put the glass to his blind eye and told his lieutenant he could see no signals to withdraw. His attack forced the French to surrender, a major victory. “Turning a deaf ear” to what one does not wish to hear is much older. Walter Hylton (Scala Perfeccionis) used it about 1440: “Make deef ere to hem as though thou herde hem not.” Versions of the cliché are found in all of the principal proverb collections from 1546 (John Heywood) to 1721 (James Kelly). See also fall on deaf ears.
See also: blind, deaf, eye, turn