clean slate, have a/start with a

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 the slate clean

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

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

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

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

clean slate, have a/start with a

A fresh chance after past debts or offenses have been canceled or forgiven. A nineteenth-century term, it comes from the schoolroom and tavern, where slate blackboards and chalk were used for exercises and totting up bills (see also chalk it up to). Mistakes and debts so recorded could literally be erased. It may have been a translation of the earlier Latin tabula rasa (“scraped tablet”), on which anything could be inscribed. By the second half of the nineteenth century the term was transferred to mean making any kind of fresh start. Another version of the term is to wipe the slate clean (so as to obtain a clean slate). As Rudyard Kipling wrote about The Absent-Minded Beggar (1900), “He’s out on active service, wiping something off a slate.”
See also: clean, have, start