make a clean breast of

(redirected from clean breast)

make a clean breast of something (to someone)

Fig. to admit something to someone. You should make a clean breast of the matter to someone. You'll feel better if you make a clean breast of the incident.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

make a clean breast of

Confess fully, as in Caught shoplifting, the girls decided to make a clean breast of it to their parents. This expression, first recorded in 1752, uses clean breast in the sense of baring of one's heart, the breast long considered the seat of private or secret feelings.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

make a clean breast of

To confess fully.
See also: breast, clean, make, of
References in classic literature ?
Make a clean breast of this in confidence; and I make no doubt I can get you out of it.
Well, yes--I may as well make a clean breast of it.
The Sir Richard of the Lea, divining that the Sheriff had been at the King's ear with his story, made a clean breast of all he knew; how that the outlaws had befriended him in sore need--as they had befriended others--and how that he had given them only knightly protection in return.
Dear Lucy, I am much worried, and I advise you to make a clean breast of his past behaviour to your mother, Freddy, and Mr.
Let us go in, and make a clean breast of it on both sides.
Darya Alexandrovna noticed that at this point in his explanation he grew confused, and she did not quite understand this digression, but she felt that having once begun to speak of matters near his heart, of which he could not speak to Anna, he was now making a clean breast of everything, and that the question of his pursuits in the country fell into the same category of matters near his heart, as the question of his relations with Anna.
Then, reverend father, I have truly a clean breast.
You must make a clean breast of it, for if you do I hope that I may be of use to you.
He had made a clean breast, had been forgiven, and the great thing now was to forget his failure, and to send it the way of other unsuccessful investments.
Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept but sorry guard.
He had no time to lose: Fogg must be detained at Hong Kong, so he resolved to make a clean breast of it.
So I said it wouldn't be no use to try to play it any longer, and I would just make a clean breast and tell her everything, but she musn't go back on her promise.
I was loath to do it, and further incur her scorn; but there was no alternative if I were to absorb knowledge, so I made a clean breast of my pitiful ignorance as to the mighty Mahars.
Your best way is to make a clean breast of the facts,' I answered.
Her object attained in astute secrecy, the heroic old woman had made a clean breast of it to Mrs Verloc.