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[streyt-n] /ˈstreɪt n/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become straight in direction, form, position, character, conduct, condition, etc. (often followed by up or out).
Origin of straighten
First recorded in 1535-45; straight + -en1
Related forms
straightener, noun
overstraighten, verb
prestraighten, verb (used with object)
restraighten, verb
unstraightened, adjective
well-straightened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for straighten out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I had to climb into the cockpit and straighten out the mess.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • You have told so much while no sense was in you that you might now straighten out the tale.

    Nicanor - Teller of Tales C. Bryson Taylor
  • Then he sent to Morristown for Mr. Morris to straighten out the fight.

  • "I intended to have a talk with you and straighten out some things," he went on.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • You were assigned to straighten out that man, Sornal, weren't you?

    Alarm Clock

    Everett B. Cole
  • Curiosity overcame the desire to straighten out her clothes.

  • I try occasionally to straighten out their affairs for them.

    Daisy's Aunt

    E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson
  • He ought to have a good fee if he can straighten out that tangle.

    Otherwise Phyllis Meredith Nicholson
British Dictionary definitions for straighten out

straighten out

verb (adverb)
to make or become less complicated or confused: the situation will straighten out
(US & Canadian) to reform or become reformed


verb sometimes foll by up or out
to make or become straight
(transitive) to make neat or tidy: straighten your desk
Derived Forms
straightener, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for straighten out



1540s, from straight + -en (1). Related: Straightened; straightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with straighten out

straighten out

Clear up disorder, a confusion, or a misunderstanding, as in This is an awful mess; I hope you'll straighten it out, or I don't understand; please straighten me out. [ Late 1800s ]
Adopt an honest, upright course, as in He's only sixteen; I'm sure he'll straighten out before long. [ First half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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