clean slate


1 [sleyt]
a fine-grained rock formed by the metamorphosis of clay, shale, etc., that tends to split along parallel cleavage planes, usually at an angle to the planes of stratification.
a thin piece or plate of this rock or a similar material, used especially for roofing or as a writing surface.
a dull, dark bluish gray.
a list of candidates, officers, etc., to be considered for nomination, appointment, election, or the like.
verb (used with object), slated, slating.
to cover with or as with slate.
to write or set down for nomination or appointment: the district leader slated for city judge.
to plan or designate (something) for a particular place and time; schedule: The premiere was slated for January.
to censure or criticize harshly or violently; scold.
to punish severely.
clean slate, an unsullied record; a record marked by creditable conduct: to start over with a clean slate.

1300–50; Middle English sclate < Middle French esclate, feminine of esclat piece split off; see slat1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To clean slate
World English Dictionary
slate1 (sleɪt)
1.  a.  a compact fine-grained metamorphic rock formed by the effects of heat and pressure on shale. It can be split into thin layers along natural cleavage planes and is used as a roofing and paving material
 b.  (as modifier): a slate tile
2.  a roofing tile of slate
3.  (formerly) a writing tablet of slate
4.  a dark grey colour, often with a purplish or bluish tinge
5.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a list of candidates in an election
6.  films
 a.  the reference information written on a clapperboard
 b.  informal the clapperboard itself
7.  clean slate a record without dishonour
8.  informal (Brit), (Irish) have a slate loose to be eccentric or crazy
9.  informal (Brit) on the slate on credit
10.  informal wipe the slate clean to make a fresh start, esp by forgetting past differences
11.  to cover (a roof) with slates
12.  chiefly (US) to enter (a person's name) on a list, esp on a political slate
13.  a.  to choose or destine: he was slated to go far
 b.  to plan or schedule: the trial is slated to begin in three weeks
14.  of the colour slate
[C14: from Old French esclate, from esclat a fragment; see slat1]

slate2 (sleɪt)
1.  to criticize harshly; censure
2.  to punish or defeat severely
[C19: probably from slate1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1340, from O.Fr. esclate, fem. of esclat "split piece, splinter" (Fr. éclat, see slat), so called because the rock splits easily into thin plates. As a color, first recorded 1882. Sense of "a writing tablet" (made of slate), first recorded c.1391, led to that of "list
of candidates," first recorded 1842. The verb meaning "propose, schedule" is recorded from 1883; sense of "nominate" is attested from 1804. Clean slate (1868) originally referred to scores chalked up in a tavern.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
slate   (slāt)  Pronunciation Key 
A fine-grained metamorphic rock that forms when shale undergoes metamorphosis. Slate splits into thin layers with smooth surfaces. It ranges in color from gray to black or from red to green, depending on the minerals contained in the shale from which it formed.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

clean slate definition

A new start; especially to make a new start by clearing the record. This phrase comes from the use of chalk and slates in classrooms in the past. By wiping the slate clean, a student could remove any evidence of a mistake.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

clean slate

A fresh start; another chance after wiping out old offenses or debts. This idiom often appears as wipe the slate clean. For example, Henry's boss assured him that the matter was finished and he could start with a clean slate, or He wished he could wipe the slate clean, but it was too late to salvage the relationship. This expression alludes to the slate boards on which school work or tavern bills were recorded in easily wiped-off chalk. Since 1850 or so the term has been used figuratively, and it has long outlived the practice of writing on slate.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature