Definition of someone's back is turned in US English:

someone's back is turned


  • Someone's attention is elsewhere.

    ‘he kissed her quickly, when the landlady's back was turned’
    • ‘I have no respect for cowards who strike when the enemy 's back is turned.’
    • ‘I don't want to be spoken of less than fondly whenever my back is turned; deep down, I know you care too, even if it's just a little.’
    • ‘Of course you will have to trust the country not to attack you as soon as your back is turned.’
    • ‘The lone superpower can bribe, bully, or impose its will almost anywhere in the world, but when its back is turned, its potency wanes.’
    • ‘Though I might help keep you alive here, there is no telling what the men will do to you when my back is turned.’
    • ‘She likens instant messaging, for example, to notes passed at the back of the classroom when the teacher 's back is turned: there is no premium on proper spelling.’
    • ‘I'm not so sure what they say when my back is turned.’
    • ‘‘Yeah, just like what a great girlfriend you are that you're off snuggling up to one of his friends while his back is turned,’ I snarled back.’
    • ‘But she also reserves a place in the bedroom altar for a small portrait of the Dalai Lama, a picture that, when our back is turned, is quietly put away.’
    • ‘They would be my friends when I'm with them, but my enemies when my back is turned.’
    • ‘But they are unfailingly polite, listen for as long as is decently necessary and do not immediately hurl my pledge-card into the nearest bin - at least not until my back is turned.’
    • ‘As soon as Eddie 's back is turned he'll be the first one to plot his downfall.’
    • ‘I told her not to say a word, and while my back is turned she rushes off to tell him.’
    • ‘I'm not the type of person to attack while someone's back is turned.’
    • ‘Dogs slip free of their leases whenever your back is turned.’
    • ‘At least everyone knows who I despise - you're the one acting as if you adore Anna and then you start gossiping about her the moment her back is turned.’
    • ‘There is no honour in defeating a foe when his back is turned.’
    • ‘When the resident 's back is turned, she steals a purse and runs off.’
    • ‘Mothers are, of course, notorious for clearing your most favourite possessions out of your bedroom the moment your back is turned.’
    • ‘Then soon as your back is turned he goes and does it.’