keep (one's) nose clean


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keep (one's) nose clean

To behave properly; to stay out of trouble. You better keep your nose clean, kid, or you're going to run into trouble you can't handle.
See also: clean, keep, nose
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep one's nose clean

Fig. to keep out of trouble, especially trouble with the law. I'm trying to keep my nose clean by staying away from those rough guys. John, if you don't learn how to keep your nose clean, you're going to end up in jail.
See also: clean, keep, nose
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

keep one's nose clean

Stay out of trouble. For example, Dad told Brian to keep his nose clean from now on or he'd cut off his allowance. [Colloquial; late 1800s]
See also: clean, keep, nose
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

keep your nose clean

INFORMAL
If you keep your nose clean, you behave well and avoid trouble. He'd worked hard and kept his nose clean for all those years. He told me to keep my nose clean and my mouth shut.
See also: clean, keep, nose
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

keep your nose clean

stay out of trouble. informal
See also: clean, keep, nose
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep your ˈnose clean

(informal) do nothing that will get you into trouble with the police or other authorities: After he came out of prison, he was determined to keep his nose clean.
See also: clean, keep, nose
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep one’s nose clean

tv. to keep out of trouble, especially trouble with the law. I can keep my nose clean. Don’t worry.
See also: clean, keep, nose
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

keep (one's) nose clean

Informal
To stay out of trouble.
See also: clean, keep, nose
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

keep your nose clean

Stay out of trouble. This slangy phrase began to be heard in Britain in the late nineteenth century and crossed the Atlantic soon afterward. Why cleanliness should be invoked is not known. Presumably keeping one’s nose clean would be equivalent to not dirtying it by poking it into someone else’s business (see poke one’s nose into). Anyhow, the term was very common by the 1940s, when it appeared in such popular novels as Manning Long’s False Alarm (1943): “Keep your nose clean and you’ll keep out of trouble.”
See also: clean, keep, nose
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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