straighten up(redirected from straightening something up)
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1. To organize or clean a messy space or collection of things; to tidy something up. A noun or pronoun can be used between "straighten" and "up." Please straighten up your room before you go. Thanks for straightening up all those magazines—the bookshelf looks great now!
2. To resolve, clarify, or organize some confusion, disorder, or misunderstanding. A noun or pronoun can be used between "straighten" and "up." I need to go straighten things up between me and Sandy. The project got so muddled that they had to bring in an outside advisor to straighten it all up.
3. To improve one's or someone else's behavior, attitude, or course in life. A noun or pronoun can be used between "straighten" and "up." He got into a bit of a rut with his drinking for a while, but he's been trying to straighten himself up lately. The bosses decided to have a meeting with Samantha to try and straighten her up.
4. To improve one's posture. A reflexive pronoun can be used between "straighten" and "up." Stop slouching like that—straighten up! Every so often throughout the day I try to remember to straighten myself up at my desk.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
straighten someone or something up
1. to put someone or something into an upright position. The fence is tilted. Please straighten that post up when you get a chance. Bill, you're slouching again. Straighten up your back.
2. to tidy up someone or something. John straightened himself up a little before going out for dinner. This room is a mess. Let's straighten up this place, right now!
1. to sit or stand more straight. Billy's mother told him to straighten up or he'd fall out of his chair. John straightened up so he'd look taller.
2. . to behave better. Bill was acting badly for a while; then he straightened up. Sally, straighten up, or I will punish you!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Make tidy, as in Let's get this room straightened up. [Second half of 1800s]
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.
1. To stand erect: The drill sergeant ordered the recruits to straighten up when they started slouching in formation.
2. To put someone or something in order: I straightened up my bookshelves. The room was starting to look like a disaster zone, so we had to straighten it up. I hired a housekeeper to straighten up around the house once a week. We need to straighten up before your parents arrive.
3. To begin behaving properly: The principal cautioned the students to straighten up or face suspension.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.