1. informal To conceal, gloss over, or suppress something negative. (From the practice of coating surfaces, such as walls and fences, in a mixture of lime and water called whitewash.) The CEO tried to whitewash the poor financial results at the investors' meeting. We have our suspicions that the police are whitewashing the suspect's death.
2. slang To change something in order to have a stronger presence or more favorable depiction of Caucasian people. There has been a huge outcry accusing the movie studio of trying to whitewash the adaptation of the Japanese manga. I think it's important to teach these atrocities in school. You can't just whitewash the history of our country.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
1. tv. to make something look better than it really is; to conceal something bad. Now, don’t try to whitewash this incident. Open up about it.
2. n. an act or campaign of covering up something bad. They tried to give the scandal the old whitewash, but it didn’t work.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A glossing over of bad conduct, dishonesty, or other misdeeds. Using clean paint as a metaphor for concealing misconduct dates at least from the early eighteenth century. “The greater part of whitewashing is done with ink,” wrote George D. Prentice (Prenticeana, 1860).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer