turn a blind eye
Admiral Horatio Nelson said this when wilfully disobeying a signal to withdraw during a naval engagement.
- You know, Foley, I have only one eye - and I have a right to be blind sometimes... I really do not see the signal. 1809, Life of Nelson
- (idiomatic) To ignore or deliberately overlook, especially with respect to something unpleasant or improper, to look the other way. To knowingly refuse to acknowledge something which you know to be real.
- The mother turned a blind eye to her son's mischief as she expected him not to repeat it.
- 1880, James Jackson Jarves, "Future American Art," New York Times, 11 Oct., p. 2:
- In this my countrymen, without having produced any really very great work, by the old standards, make a respectable show. . . . In saying this, however, we must turn a blind eye to a considerable number of statues of our distinguished citizens which even more lamentably exhibit the defects arising from ignorance of modeling and design.
to ignore or deliberately overlook