mend one's ways

Improve one's behavior, as in Threatened with suspension, Jerry promised to mend his ways. This expression, transferring a repair of clothes to one of character, was first recorded in 1868, but 150 or so years earlier it had appeared as mend one's manners.


Nearby words

  1. mencius,
  2. mencken,
  3. mencken, h. l.,
  4. mend,
  5. mend one's fences,
  6. mendable,
  7. mendacious,
  8. mendaciously,
  9. mendacity,
  10. mende

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.