turn a blind eye

turn a blind eye

Meaning | Synonyms

  • deliberately overlook
  • to intentionally ignore something
  • ignoring the objectionable affair of someone or something
  • to disregard someone/something and pretend to be unaware of it
  • make an allowance
  • bend the rules
  • make an exception
  • stretch a point

Example Sentences

  1. As a police officer, you cannot turn a blind eye to any of the illegal activities around you.
  2. The principal decided to turn a blind eye to the student’s misconduct this time with a hope that they won’t do it again.
  3. I knew that my wife was cheating on my but I chose to turn a blind eye.
  4. If a girl turns a blind eye on your comments – it doesn’t mean that she started liking you.
  5. Whenever I ask my friend about her husband she turns blind eye on it.
  6. A gang of goons was beating an old man but instead of helping him everybody turned a blind eye.


The phrase that we use today is a shortened version of the original to turn the deaf ear and the blind eye. The first example of it being used can be found in “A Discourse of Walking by Faith” printed in 1698.

“to turn the deaf ear, and the blind eye to all those Pomps and Vanities of the world …”

The first appearance of the shortened phrase was published in 1832. It can be found in The New Sporting magazine.

“and it is equally easy for him to turn a blind eye to the trespasser by day, … “

The phrase may have been around for years, but it seems to have gained popularity when used by Vice Admiral Nelson in the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. Admiral Horatio Nelson had been blinded in his right eye during the war with France. When signalled by his commanding officer that he should withdraw, he raised the telescope to his blind eye. Thus, he could not see the flags signalling the order. He is rumoured to have said, “I have only one eye, I have the right to be blind sometimes.”

Although he was definitely not the first to use it, he definitely made it famous.

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