We are more accustomed to the general meaning of "clean up": to clean and tidy something.
But this headline uses "clean up" in a different way; "to make a large profit from a business deal".
Coincidentally, this company is a washing-machine manufacturer. Clever choice, don't you think?
So this week's headline, "Samsung planning to clean up in Thailand" means that Samsung plans to make a big profit (increase sales) in Thailand.
Since we are on the topic of "clean", let's look at other expressions. First in line is wipe the slate clean. There are two other similar expressions: a clean sheet/slate and with the slate wiped clean.
A slate was used to write on long before paper was invented, and when information was not needed anymore, or when people wanted to write new information, they wiped the slate clean to make space. So the expression is used metaphorically to mean to forget about a bad experience in the past and start afresh.
The discussion between the principal and parents was needed so those students could wipe the slate clean and continue their normal studies.
With similar connotations come the expressions to start with a clean slate/sheet and to start with the slate wiped clean. If someone wants to start with a clean slate/a slate wiped clean they want people to forget about their mistakes, failures or unfavourable past and make a fresh start.
Their failure was a result of being inexperienced; allowing them to start with the slate wiped clean would definitely encourage them to do better next time.
But to come clean has a completely different meaning. When somebody comes clean, they tell the truth about something they have been keeping secret.
Sandra finally came clean last week about what really happened during the 10 years of her living abroad.
To make a clean breast of something gives a similar meaning to the previous one but is not the same. It says only that one tells the truth about something.
Just make a clean breast of what happened; we want to know so we can prevent it in the future.
Complete the sentences using the expressions explained
1. Frank … during the press conference about the source of assets he used to buy the football club.
2. The drug rehabilitation will give them the opportunity to … .
3. Please give her a chance to start … ; I believe she has suffered enough from her mistakes.
4. Jack … the missing cover of the book; his dog had eaten it.
5. The marketing department was very confident that this sales promotion would … and it did.
Answers: 1. came clean, 2. wipe the slate clean, 3. with a clean slate, 4. made a clean breast of, 5. clean up
By Ajarn Parnsap Yomanage