a clean sheet

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clean sheet

1. 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 with a clean sheet?
2. In sports, a game or series of games in which one side wins with the opposing side(s) being unable to score any points. Primarily heard in UK. The football team has kept a clean sheet for the last three games. I don't think anyone can score against them!
See also: clean, sheet

a clean sheet

1. If you start something with a clean sheet, you start it again, with none of the problems or mistakes from the past. The Christmas break has allowed the Government to start the new year with a clean sheet. Given a clean sheet, what would you do? Note: You can also use the full expression a clean sheet of paper. We started with a clean sheet of paper, having put the past behind us.
2. In a football match, if a team keeps a clean sheet, no goals are scored against them. If Ipswich keep a clean sheet tonight, it will be their 27th of the season.
See also: clean, sheet

a clean sheet (or slate)

an absence of existing restraints or commitments.
2003 Guardian Given a clean slate and an impressive budget, I would love to programme a festival…that exposed audiences to completely new forms of music-making at their best and most diverse.
See also: clean, sheet

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
References in periodicals archive ?
It was chaos at the back and an institutional inability to keep a clean sheet.
STEPHEN Warnock is drawing a blank over Villa's defensive meanness - because he hasn't got a clean sheet bonus written into his contract!
"Me and Richard Dunne turned round to each other at Portsmouth and said we couldn't believe we hadn't got a clean sheet again.
"It was disappointing from our point of view and we were desperate to get back to a clean sheet.
"We struggled last season to keep a clean sheet," said the manager.
"We actually defended well in terms of goals against, but we struggled to keep a clean sheet.