Idiom
Wipe the slate clean / Start with a clean slate
Meaning
To forgive and forget mistakes made in the past and start again in a new way.
Wipe the slate clean / Start with a clean slate
Origin
In Victorian times, schoolchildren used to write on boards made from a piece of flat rock called “slate” set in a wooden frame. A pencil, also made of slate, was used to write the letters. Slate was more commonly used than paper because it could be wiped clean and used again and again. Around the same time, people could go into a grocer’s shop and buy things "on account", meaning they did not pay immediately, but the grocer recorded how much money they owed on a slate. On payday (when people received their salary) they paid their debt to the grocer and their slate was wiped clean. Therefore to wipe the slate clean means to start things afresh: this is a phrase often used to describe the fresh start in a new year or a second chance at success.
Examples
“Danny got into a lot of trouble at school last year, but with a new school year and new teachers, he's starting with a clean slate.”

“This year I've got into some bad habits, but for the new year I have good intentions, so on January 1st I'm going to start with a clean slate.”

“My brother and I had a huge argument last month, but yesterday we met up and talked through our problems, so now we've forgiven each other and wiped the slate clean.”

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