when one's back is turned

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when (one's) back is turned

When one is not looking; when one is distracted, absent, or involved in something else. Jimmy grabbed another cookie when his 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
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.
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