start over with a clean slate

Status
Not open for further replies.

birdeen's call

VIP Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
What does this expression mean? When can we use it? Why do we use the word "slate" in it?
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
What does this expression mean? When can we use it? Why do we use the word "slate" in it?

I believe it goes back to the days when writing was done on a piece of slate using a piece of chalk.

When the slate was full (no more space left on it), you would have to erase the writing in order to start again (start over) with a "clean slate".
 

richuk

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
What does this expression mean? When can we use it? Why do we use the word "slate" in it?

Not a teacher.

I believe it means 'to have a fresh start with a clear conscience'

A person has committed a crime but they have made up for what they have done wrong and intend to now live an honest life then they could be described as starting over with a clean slate.

Slate was used to write on many years ago so it refers to the idea of having a clean conscience to move forward without the past dragging you down.

It may refer to other situations but this is one that comes to mind.
 

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
I believe it goes back to the days when writing was done on a piece of slate using a piece of chalk...

Smile when you say that ;-) (I used one at school in the mid '50s.)

b
 

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
PS Another version of 'clean slate' is the Latin tabula rasa - which is still sometimes used in Br. Eng, and refers to an earlier writing technology. The tabula was a sort of tray filled with wax. The writer scratched the characters with a stylus, and shaved of the top layer (think of 'razor') in order to start afresh.

b
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Smile when you say that ;-) (I used one at school in the mid '50s.)

b

Ah, back in the days when children were actually TAUGHT! :-D
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top