save face

save face  {v. phr.}
To save your good reputation, popularity, or dignity when something has happened or may happen to hurt you; hide something that may cause you shame.
The policeman was caught accepting a bribe; he tried to save face by claiming it was money owed to him.
Bill would not play in the game because he knew he could not do well and he wanted to save face.
The colonel who lost the battle saved face by showing his orders from the general.
Contrast: LOSE FACE.
- face-saver  {n.}
The shop teacher's note was a face-saver when another teacher thought John and Bill were playing hookey in town.
- face-saving  {adj.}
The note was a face-saving idea.
- face-saving  {n.}
Face-saving is not helped by too many invented excuses.
Categories: human dignity {adj.} {n.} {v. phr.}