turn over a new leaf

turn over a new leaf

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to alter your behaviour in a positive way
  • to start fresh
  • to change course
  • to start afresh
  • to change track
  • to rethink/remodel
  • to have second thoughts

Example Sentences

  1. He has not been in trouble this year. He has really turned over a new leaf.
  2.  She promises to turn over a new leaf if we give her one more chance.
  3. Apparently, he has stopped gossiping and promises to turn over a new leaf this year. I will believe it when I see it.
  4. I am starting my new job tomorrow. It feels like I am turning over a new leaf.
  5. I know that we have not gotten along very well in the past, but maybe we can turn over a new leaf.
  6. The management is turning over a new leaf concerning the reasons for project failure.
  7. I know that we have not gotten along very well in the past, but maybe we can turn over a new leaf.
  8. I want to turn over a new leaf regarding my overeating habit.


The “leaf” in this phrase does not refer to the leaf on a tree, but rather the pages in a book. In the 16th century the pages of a book were referred to as leaves.

The allusion to turning over to a blank page and starting over has been used since the 1500s. Even though it has not always meant “change for the better” it has always meant that you are starting over. When you turn to a new, clean page you are leaving the past behind you and starting over.

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T 2 Thoughts

2 Thoughts

The word for the “page” of a book in Old English was “leaf”, which is the same word as the “leaf” on a tree. This is the case in many European languages today. The word “leaf” to mean “page” today in English survives only in its diminutive form of “leaflet” which means a small unbound paper page.

In Spanish, “hoja” means the “leaf” on a tree, and also the “page” of a book, and a “sheet” of paper, or even a “sheet” of steel. But spanish also has a synonym for a book’s “hoja” which is “página” (this latter word being etymologically related to the word “page”) which refers only to the “hojas” of books but not to “hojas” of a tree.

- Anonymous March 30, 2021

Now that a new leaf means starting over, may we say hope for a new leaf?

- 頭痛人 April 24, 2020

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axe to grind

Meaning: have a private or selfish reason for doing something

Example: He should not become the chairman of the committee as he has too many axes of his own to grind. Read on


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