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make a clean breast of

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Confess fully, as in Caught shoplifting, the girls decided to make a clean breast of it to their parents. This expression, first recorded in 1752, uses clean breast in the sense of baring of one's heart, the breast long considered the seat of private or secret feelings.

QUIZ
TAKE JOY IN ACING THIS QUIZ ON “PRIDE” SYNONYMS
Hold your head up high as you embark on this quiz that explores some of the synonyms and meanings of “pride.”
Question 1 of 7
What does "dignity" mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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