look the other way


1. ignore wrongdoing






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be willing to look the other way

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This expression is generally used when the person doing the ignoring has a responsibility to report on wrongdoing or to enforce a set of laws or rules but chooses not to. You can willingly 'look the other way' out of a sense of justice, indifference, or if the transgressor is a friend or relation, but people also do so less willingly out of fear. It can be used in a social or professional context but is more common in the latter.

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  1. I know he's your friend, but you can't keep looking the other way when he does something wrong. He needs to be told that his behaviour is unacceptable.
  2. Residents are afraid of the criminals in the area and so look the other way rather than report lawbreakers.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. I usually come down hard on people who miss a deadline, but your record up to now has been exemplary, so I'm willing to look the other way.
  2. A lot of bullying went on in that office when I worked there, but management always looked the other way. I think they were afraid of cracking down on the ringleaders.

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