Meaning of Idiom ‘Clean Up Your (or one’s) Act’
To clean up your (his/her) act means to improve your behavior and begin acting in a more acceptable way. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
“I got back together with Anthony,” said Laura. “He’s not drinking and I think he’s really cleaned up his act.”
“You’ll have to clean up your act if you expect to keep living here,” said the landlady.
“I used to have a gambling problem, but I cleaned up my act,” said Tom.
Clean, in this expression, refers figuratively to putting things in proper order and act refers to one’s outward behavior or lifestyle, alluding to the act of a stage performer.
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