start with a 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. A noun or pronoun can be used between "start" and "with" to specify what is being started again. After that fiasco in Texas, I'm looking forward to starting off with a clean slate in Oregon. I know things haven't been great between us, but I'm willing to forget what happened and start with a clean slate. Let's get all this financial stuff finished before the end of December so that we can start off the new year with a clean slate.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
start (off) with a clean slateand 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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer