slate


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keep (one's) slate clean

To maintain an impeccable record; to refrain from committing any mistakes or wrongdoings. If Jeremy can keep his slate clean from now until his next hearing, they might be willing to release him from prison on parole. I know my time in rehab will work against me in the election, but I've kept my slate clean since then.
See also: clean, keep, slate

start over with a clean slate

To start (something) again with a fresh beginning, especially unencumbered by mistakes or regrets from the past. After that fiasco in Texas, I'm looking forward to starting over with a clean slate in Oregon. Things got so screwed up with the project that we had to scrap it about halfway through and start over again with a clean slate.
See also: clean, over, slate, start

wipe (one's) slate clean

To erase the record of one's wrong-doings, likened to wiping the contents off of a piece of slate, formerly used as a reusable writing surface. I had been late a bunch of times, but after he heard that I'd been struggling so much at home, my boss said he would wipe my slate clean. Mom said she would wipe your slate clean if you pay for the vase you broke.
See also: clean, slate, wipe

clean slate

An opportunity to start fresh despite past mistakes or problems. I know we've had our differences, but I'd like to repair our friendship. Can we start over with a clean slate? I really appreciate you giving me a clean slate after I failed that first test.
See also: clean, slate

start (off) with a clean slate

To start (something) again with a fresh beginning, especially unencumbered by mistakes or regrets from the past. After that fiasco in Texas, I'm looking forward to starting off with a clean slate in Oregon. I know things have not been great between us, but I'm willing to forget what happened and start with a clean slate.
See also: clean, slate, start

slate someone or something for something

to schedule someone or something for some thing or a particular time. They slated me for a trip to Columbia, Missouri, in August. Wally slated the meeting room for his presentation.
See also: slate

*slated for something

scheduled for something. (As if a schedule had been written on a slate. *Typically: be ~; have someone ~.) John was slated for Friday's game, but he couldn't play with the team. Ann is slated for promotion next year.
See also: slate

slated to do something scheduled to do something

. (*Typically: be ~; have someone ~.) Mary is slated to go to Washington in the fall. We are slated to leave in November.
See also: schedule, slate

start (off) with a clean slate

 and start (over) with a clean slate
Fig. to start out again afresh; to ignore the past and start over again. I plowed under all last year's flowers so I could start with a clean slate next spring. If I start off with a clean slate, then I'll know exactly what each plant is. When Bob got out of jail, he started over with a clean slate.
See also: clean, slate, start

wipe someone's slate clean and wipe the slate clean

Fig. to get rid of or erase someone's (bad) record. (As if erasing information recorded on a slate.) I'd like to wipe my slate clean and start all over again. Bob did badly in high school, but he wiped his slate clean and did a good job in college.
See also: and, clean, slate, wipe

clean slate

A fresh start; another chance after wiping out old offenses or debts. This idiom often appears as wipe the slate clean. For example, Henry's boss assured him that the matter was finished and he could start with a clean slate , or He wished he could wipe the slate clean, but it was too late to salvage the relationship. This expression alludes to the slate boards on which school work or tavern bills were recorded in easily wiped-off chalk. Since 1850 or so the term has been used figuratively, and it has long outlived the practice of writing on slate.
See also: clean, slate

slated for, be

Be planned or scheduled, as in The history test is slated for Thursday, or He's slated for a second round of auditions. [Late 1800s]
See also: slate

wipe the slate clean

see under clean slate.
See also: clean, slate, wipe

on the slate

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you buy something on the slate, you have it now but promise to pay for it later. Note: In the past, people used pieces of a dark grey stone called `slate' for writing on, for example in schools, shops, and pubs. Shopkeepers and pub owners would write customers' debts on their slates, and wipe them clean when the debts were paid. If a man was unemployed at the time, some kindly shopkeepers would put it `on the slate' until the next payment came.
See also: on, slate

wipe the slate clean

COMMON
1. If you wipe the slate clean, you get rid of an existing system so that you can replace it with a new one. Note: In the past, people used pieces of a dark grey stone called `slate' for writing on, for example in schools, shops, and pubs. Shopkeepers and pub owners would write customers' debts on their slates, and wipe them clean when the debts were paid. The chief executive said: `What we have done is wipe the slate clean and start again with this complete rethink'. There's a strong desire to wipe the slate clean and call for early elections. Note: You can also say that you are starting something with a clean slate. The new chief executive has clearly decided to start with a clean slate as he takes on one of the toughest jobs in British retailing.
2. If you wipe the slate clean, you stop owing money to someone, after paying back all your debts or agreeing with someone that they will ignore a debt. Note: In the past, people used pieces of a dark grey stone called `slate' for writing on, for example in schools, shops, and pubs. Shopkeepers and pub owners would write customers' debts on their slates, and wipe them clean when the debts were paid. When his campaign ended he owed $4 million; after 12 weeks of hard work he was able to wipe the slate clean. Note: When you begin something without owing any money, you can say that you start with a clean slate. The proposal is to pay everything you owe, so that you can start with a clean slate. Before accepting the job he tried to persuade the government to wipe out the deficit and allow him to start with a clean slate.
3. If you wipe the slate clean, you start your life again, living in a completely new and better way, after a period of being punished for something wrong that you have done. Note: In the past, people used pieces of a dark grey stone called `slate' for writing on, for example in schools, shops, and pubs. Shopkeepers and pub owners would write customers' debts on their slates, and wipe them clean when the debts were paid. Serving a prison sentence makes some people believe they have wiped the slate clean and that they can start afresh. Note: You can also say someone starts with a clean slate. I had hoped that when he came back he would stop taking drugs and start with a clean slate.
See also: clean, slate, wipe

on the (or your) slate

to be paid for later; on credit. British
Shops and bars formerly kept a record of what a customer owed by chalking it on a tablet made of slate.
See also: on, slate

wipe the slate clean

forgive or forget past faults or offences; make a fresh start.
In former times, shopkeepers and pub landlords would keep a record of what was owing to them by writing the details on a tablet of slate; a clean slate was one on which no debts were recorded.
See also: clean, slate, wipe

a clean ˈsheet/ˈslate

a record of your work or actions that does not show any mistakes or bad things that you have done: At the new school, you will start with a clean slate.They kept a clean sheet in the match (= no goals were scored against them).
See also: clean, sheet, slate

(put something) on the ˈslate

(informal) (put something) on your account in a shop, a bar, etc. to be paid for later: Can I put this on the slate?
A slate is a thin sheet of a type of dark grey stone that was used in the past to write on.
See also: on, slate

wipe the slate ˈclean

agree to forget about past mistakes or arguments and start again with a relationship: We’re both to blame. Let’s wipe the slate clean and start again.In the past, people wrote on a slate with chalk (= a soft white stone). If you wiped it, you rubbed off the marks written on it.
See also: clean, slate, wipe

slate for

v.
1. To schedule or designate someone or something to take place at some time: Our professor has slated the history lecture for Thursday afternoon.
2. To arrange for something to be or to undergo something: The contractor has slated the building for destruction. This boss has slated me for a promotion.
See also: slate
References in classic literature ?
I will buy you a slate for your own affairs, Benjamin,” said the sheriff; “I don’t like to have the journal marked over in this manner.
I’ve known a smart chase, and a fight at the tail of it”, where less has been logged than I’ve got on that there slate.
In an instant he had plucked out his revolver, smashed the window with its butt, and the slates with a bullet not a yard from the protruding head.
And he slid out of reach without another word, leaving me to shudder alike at his levity and his peril; nor could I follow him very far by the wan light of the April stars; but I saw his forearms resting a moment in the spout that ran around the tower, between bricks and slates, on the level of the floor; and I had another dim glimpse of him lower still, on the eaves over the very room that we had ransacked.
I ventured further, till I could overlook the lawns: they lay like clean slates in the starlight: there was no sign of living thing nearer than the house, which was still lit up, but quiet enough now.
This hydra of towers, giant guardian of Paris, with its four and twenty heads, always erect, with its monstrous haunches, loaded or scaled with slates, and all streaming with metallic reflections, terminated with wonderful effect the configuration of the Town towards the west.
But that isn't a good word: he didn't tell them to write on slates.
Alec was evidently already won, for Rose had described the old slate and brown paper copy-book with pathetic effect, and the excellent man had not only decided to send Phebe to school long before the story was done, but reproached himself for forgetting his duty to one little girl in his love for another.
So Phebe sat demurely in her place while her new teacher laid forth books and slates, a pretty inkstand and a little globe; hastily tore a bit off her big sponge, sharpened pencils with more energy than skill, and when all was ready gave a prance of satisfaction that set the pupil laughing.
Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head and cracked it--slate not head--clear across.
When school went out Anne marched to her desk, ostentatiously took out everything therein, books and writing tablet, pen and ink, testament and arithmetic, and piled them neatly on her cracked slate.
Phillips was back in the corner explaining a problem in algebra to Prissy Andrews and the rest of the scholars were doing pretty much as they pleased eating green apples, whispering, drawing pictures on their slates, and driving crickets harnessed to strings, up and down aisle.
She then turned to the cook--still waiting her pleasure, with stony composure, slate in hand.
Hester Dethridge, perfectly unmoved, wrote her justification on her slate, in two stiff sentences: "I had no orders
The chimney stack stood up above the roof like a little stone tower, and the daylight shone down from the top, under the slanting slates that kept out the rain.