paper over

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Suggesting the use of wallpaper to cover defects on a wall.


paper over (third-person singular simple present papers over, present participle papering over, simple past and past participle papered over)

  1. (transitive, figuratively) To superficially hide or disguise (a problem or a defect) without addressing it; to provide a veneer of normality or success.
    • 2014, Patric Chovanec, at Bloomberg, China's Runaway Train is Running Out of Track
      Runaway lending continues, bad debts mount even higher, and the need for more cash to paper over losses becomes that much more acute.
    • 2016, Wesley Widmaier, Economic Ideas in Political Time, →ISBN, page 151:
      While Volcker briefly submitted his resignation to Treasury Secretary Baker, a new vote would paper over immediate tensions – though Volcker's time as chair was numbered, going forward.


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