turn over a new leaf


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turn over a new leaf

Fig. to begin again, fresh; to reform and begin again. (Fig. on turning to a fresh page. The leaf is a page—a fresh, clean page.) I have made a mess of my life. I'll turn over a new leaf and hope to do better. Why don't you turn over a new leaf and surprise everyone with your good characteristics?
See also: leaf, new, over, turn

turn over a new leaf

Make a fresh start, change one's conduct or attitude for the better, as in He promised the teacher he would turn over a new leaf and behave himself in class. This expression alludes to turning the page of a book to a new page. [Early 1500s]
See also: leaf, new, over, turn

turn over a new leaf

COMMON If someone has turned over a new leaf, they have started to behave in a better way than before. Note: The `leaf' in the last two expressions is a page of a book. While Eddie has turned over a new leaf, his brother can still be spotted in the bars along Sunset Strip. Both men have agreed to turn over a new leaf in their relations with each other. Compare with turn the page.
See also: leaf, new, over, turn

turn over a new leaf

improve your conduct or performance.
The leaf referred to here is a page of a book. The phrase has been used in this metaphorical sense since the 16th century, and while it now always means ‘change for the better’, it could previously also mean just ‘change’ or even ‘change for the worse’.
See also: leaf, new, over, turn

turn over a new ˈleaf

change your way of behaving and start a better life: This is a new project to help ex-prisoners turn over a new leaf.
See also: leaf, new, over, turn