when one's back is turned

When one is away or not looking, as in You can count on the children to misbehave when the teacher's back is turned, or I don't dare go on vacation; he'll take my job when my back is turned. Also see when the cat's away, the mice will play.


Nearby words

  1. when in rome do as the romans do,
  2. when in rome, do as the romans do,
  3. when it comes to,
  4. when it rains, it pours,
  5. when least expected,
  6. when one's ship comes in,
  7. when pigs fly,
  8. when the cat's away, the mice will play,
  9. when the chips are down,
  10. when the dust has settled

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.