keep your nose clean

keep your nose clean

Meaning

  • to stay out of trouble by not doing anything wrong
  • to avoid acts that will make your reputation questionable

Example Sentences

  1. By avoiding the drug dealers on the corner street, James was making an effort to keep his nose clean.
  2. The officer kept his nose clean by not associating with the known corrupt policemen at the bureau.
  3. I have learned that the best way to avoid getting in trouble with the police is to keep one’s nose clean.
  4. It is hard for Lisa to keep her nose clean when several members of her family are involved in one crime or the other.
  5. Everyone urged Matt to keep his nose clean by avoiding Peter’s company following the warrant issued for his arrest.

Origin

This phrase originated from another phrase which is “keep the hands clean” which was widely used in England in the 18th century, This phrase meant to avoid corruption and when it became adopted in the US, it became modified to “keep your nose clean” which literally meant to keep your nose out of what doesn’t concern you. This new phrase then became widely adopted to mean avoiding doing anything shady.

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