mend (one's) fences

(redirected from mend their fences)

mend (one's) fences

To rectify a damaged relationship. After Jill heard that her father had become ill, she decided it was time for them to mend their fences before it was too late. The politician tried to mend his fences with his constituents after the scandal, but was not able to regain their trust before the next election.
See also: fence, mend
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

mend one's fences

Improve poor relations; placate personal, political, or business contacts. For example, The senator always goes home weekends and spends time mending his fences. This metaphoric expression dates from an 1879 speech by Senator John Sherman in Mansfield, Ohio, to which he said he had returned "to look after my fences." Although he may have meant literally to repair the fences around his farm there, media accounts of the speech took him to mean campaigning among his constituents. In succeeding decades the term was applied to nonpolitical affairs as well.
See also: fence, mend
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.

mend fences


mend your fences

COMMON If you mend fences or mend your fences, you do something to improve your relationship with someone you have argued with. Yesterday he was publicly criticised for not doing enough to mend fences with his big political rival. He had managed to annoy every member of the family and thought he'd better mend his fences. Note: You can call this process fence-mending. The king is out of the country on a fence-mending mission to the European Community.
See also: fence, mend
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

mend (your) fences

make peace with a person.
This expression originated in the late 19th century in the USA, with reference to a member of Congress returning to his home town to keep in touch with the voters and to look after his interests there. Similar notions are conjured up by the saying good fences make good neighbours .
1994 Louis de Bernières Captain Corelli's Mandolin He knew assuredly he should go and mend his fences with the priest.
See also: fence, mend
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

mend (your) ˈfences (with somebody)

(British English) find a solution to a disagreement with somebody: Is it too late to mend fences with your brother?
See also: fence, mend
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

mend fences

To improve poor relations, especially in politics: "Whatever thoughts he may have entertained about mending some fences with [them] were banished" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).
See also: fence, mend
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.

mend one's fences, to

To strengthen one’s position by reestablishing good relations among one’s supporters. The term apparently came from a speech by Sen. John Sherman to his neighbors and friends in 1879 in Mansfield, Ohio, in which he said, “I have come home to look after my fences,” presumably literally meaning the fences around his farm there. (Indeed, mending fences is a major and time-consuming chore for nearly all American farmers.) However, the newspaper reports of the speech interpreted it as a political statement that meant Sherman was really home to campaign among his constituents. The term continued to be used in this way, with repair and mend substituted for look after. In the twentieth century it was broadened to mean placating personal, business, or professional contacts who might have felt neglected or offended and trying to regain their support. Vice President Al Gore used it after his defeat in the 2000 presidential election, saying he planned to mend his fences.
See also: mend, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
It is perhaps already too late for them to mend their fences in time for the European election, but if UKIP indeed do bring about a political earthquake it could be the jolt they all need.
The seven- day RSS ' Manthan Shivir', which began on Tuesday in Amravati, Maharashtra, has become a platform for all members of the Sangh Parivar to mend their fences and put up a united front in the 2014 elections.
He argued that Turkey's vocal criticism of the recent Gaza war earned Turkey the trust of Arabs, and added that Arabs will be left on their own should Israel and Turkey mend their fences and impose a political solution in Israel's favor in the peace process.
It cost the Americans millions of dollars and fulsome apologies, to mend their fences. Wales, alas, has no proper government: only a few toothless AMs and MPs.