turn a blind eye (to something)

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turn a blind eye (to something)

To knowingly ignore some wrongdoing. Can't you just turn a blind eye to this little incident, instead of telling Mom and Dad? If regulators hadn't kept turning a blind eye for so many years, thousands of consumers might not have suffered ffrom the company's infractions.
See also: blind, eye, turn
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

turn a blind eye to

Deliberately overlook, ignore, as in She decided to turn a blind eye to her roommate's goings-on. This expression is believed to come from the siege of Copenhagen (1801), in which Lord Horatio Nelson, second in command of the English fleet, was ordered to withdraw but pretended not to see the flagship's signals to do so by putting his glass to the eye that had been blinded in an earlier battle. His attack led to a major victory. Also see turn a deaf ear.
See also: blind, eye, to, turn
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.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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, to, turn
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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