come clean



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come clean (third-person singular simple present comes clean, present participle coming clean, simple past came clean, past participle come clean)

  1. (idiomatic) To confess; admit the truth.
    • 1921, B. M. Bower, chapter 6, in Sawtooth Ranch:
      "You better come clean, Swan, and tell the whole thing. What was it? Don't talk in circles."
    • 1977 Oct. 23, John Gardner, "The World Of Tolkien," New York Times (retrieved 12 Sept 2013):
      Perhaps it is only fair to come clean at the start and confess that I found J.R.R. Tolkien's Unfinished Tales a disappointment.
    • 2005 August 8, "Quotes of the Day," Time (retrieved 12 Sept 2013):
      When the sub got stuck, the brass kept the fact under wraps for 32 hours before Russia came clean and asked for foreign help.