to whitewash

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - whitewash

"to whitewash"

to conceal something bad;

to make something look better than it really is


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - whitewash

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: I don't understand how the boss's secretary has not been fired yet. She continues to make costly error after costly error.

Colleague 2: Well, the boss keeps whitewashing the situation, pretending that her errors are insignificant.

Colleague 1: If he continues to make the situation look better than it really is, then one day, his secretary will make a monumental error that even he can not ignore and she will have to be fired.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - whitewash

A doctor and patient are talking ...

Patient: Please, just tell me like it is. Don't hold back the gruesome details.

Doctor: OK. I won't whitewash this. You have several tumors growing in your brain. They are inoperable and you probably have no more than three months to live.

Patient: Thanks for being straightforward and honest with me.

Test Your Understanding  

to whitewash - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   2,454   click for frequency by country

to whitewash - Gerund Form:

Whitewashing what really happened always causes trouble later when the truth is revealed.

to whitewash - Examples:

1)  ... campaign and its cheerleaders will not go away no matter how hard Obots try to whitewash or minimize what happened.

2)  Proxy baptisms help to whitewash the Holocaust by attempting to remove the Jewish identities of those who were murdered.

3)  ... doesn't whitewash the past. He has stared down injustice and confronted insult.

4)  ... to calm down a panicky client, but most of this is a straight up whitewash, the sterilization of language that could ...

5)  According to Peers, Koster is the beneficiary of a whitewash, and his only reprimand comes in the form of a reduction in rank.

6)  ... he didn't try to alter the book in any way in an attempt to whitewash any negative information. He wanted people to understand who he was.

7)  ... address the problems that have been identified by the Climategate scandal instead of trying to whitewash the errors and blacklist the scientists who pointed them out.

8)  And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them.

9)  Just because it happened thousands of years ago doesn't whitewash that fact. I find it rather disturbing, especially if it is considered not ...

10)  Most positive I can think of is polish. Smear implies covering with dirt, whitewash implies covering it up. 

11)  It is just as possible to whitewash by omission as it is to whitewash by direct denial.

12)  ... for "freedom of the press" and honest, government-controlled press briefings. The whitewash, cover-up job went into high gear with the appearances of ...

13)  ... exchanged, shared, interpreted in a clandestine way by intelligence services then recycled, whitewashed judicially, it opens the door to all types of manipulation. 

14)  Any parent who's whitewashed abusiveness, has screwed up their child, for he will always lack common sense ...

15)  ... between all people committed to making a better world than the ideologically and linguistically whitewashed dystopia which austerity capitalism offers.

16)  ... very worst offenders in foreclosure fraud and in the very same sub-prime fraud that Davidson whitewashed as a "blameless" phenomenon.

17)  ... people in America living on $2 a day is entirely unacceptable and can not be whitewashed with statistical analysis. These are our fellow human beings, our fellow Americans.

18)  ... evidence of war crimes committed by US-UK forces, and that you will refrain from whitewashing these crimes as a "public relations blow" to the Pentagon. 

19)  They simply refuse to give up against the onslaught of propaganda aimed at whitewashing Israeli crimes against international law and the Palestinian people.

20)  I took this to have a similar connotation as "whitewashing" or "covering up."