when (one's) back is turned

when (one's) back is turned

When one is not looking; when one is distracted, absent, or involved in something else. Jimmy kicked his sister in the shins when their mom's back was turned. It turned out that the vice president of the company had been orchestrating a hostile takeover when the president's back was turned.
See also: back, turn

when one's back is turned

When one is away or not looking, as in You can count on the children to misbehave when the teacher's back is turned, or I don't dare go on vacation; he'll take my job when my back is turned. Also see when the cat's away, the mice will play.
See also: back, turn

when your back is turned

If something happens when your back is turned, it happens when you are away or involved with something else. The problem is, I never know what she's going to do when my back is turned. Note: You can also say as soon as you turn your back. They stand there, very quiet and polite, but as soon as you turn your back, they go crazy. Compare with turn your back on something.
See also: back, turn