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Idiom

Turn Over a New Leaf: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
To change the way you behave and start acting in a better way.
Origin
In the 1500s, people called pages in books ‘leaves’. When they turned over a new leaf, they were really turning to a blank page in their book to start writing something new. Nowadays, it is used to mean that you are turning over the ‘previous page/leaf’ with your bad behaviour and starting again with better behaviour on a ‘new page’.
Examples
“Apparently he has turned over a new leaf and he’s not smoking anymore.”

“This year I want to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to exercise more and eat healthier food!”

“You have been upsetting a lot of people recently with your bad behaviour. Why don’t you surprise everyone and turn over a new leaf?”