sweep (something) under the rug

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sweep (something) under the rug

To ignore, deny, or conceal from public view or knowledge something that is embarrassing, unappealing, or damaging to one's reputation. The senator has been accused of trying to sweep his former drug use under the rug. You need to stop sweeping your problems under the rug. Nothing will get resolved like that!
See also: rug, sweep
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sweep under the rug

Hide something, as in Their attempts to sweep the scandal under the rug were not very successful. This idiom alludes to sweeping dust under the rug, so it won't be seen. [Mid-1900s]
See also: rug, sweep
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

sweep something under the rug

mainly AMERICAN
If you sweep something under the rug, you try to hide it and forget about it because it makes you feel embarrassed or ashamed. Executives swept the theft under the rug, hoping to avoid being accused of mismanagement by directors and shareholders. Some of the most appalling crimes went unpunished, swept under the rug in order to placate the military. Note: Other verbs such as brush and push are sometimes used instead of sweep. You can't just brush this one under the rug. Note: The usual British expression is sweep something under the carpet.
See also: rug, something, sweep
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

sweep under the rug

To avoid discussing or dealing with (something negative or troubling).
See also: rug, sweep
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

sweep (something) under the rug, to

To conceal something. This allusion to hiding household dust or debris by sweeping it under a rug or carpet was used figuratively only from the mid-twentieth century. It appeared in the Boston Globe in 1979: “Attempts to sweep the Chappaquiddick scandal under the rug have not succeeded.”
See also: sweep, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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