What does the idiom "clear the air" mean?

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. clear the air meaning, in what situations is it used?

Meaning of "clear the air"


The idiom “clear the air” refers to the act of a person or people attempting to fix or make up for a situation that has been previously disheartening or conflictual. This phrase implies that the situation was built up to be negative and complex, but by taking certain steps, the situation can become more simple and easy going again. The action typically involves an apology or explanation, though it can also represent any action that helps to alleviate tension and animosity.


The phrase “clear the air” first began to appear in print during the 19th century. Its first known use was in 1815 in the novel “The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson” by J. H. Ingelow. It is likely that this phrase originated as a reference to the literal clearing of the air, as in the removal of smoke and other pollutants. This physical act of clearing the air was likely seen as a metaphor for the social and emotional act of “clearing the air” between people, as well.


The phrase “clear the air” is most commonly used when referring to trying to make up for an uncomfortable or potentially hostile situation. This normally occurs between two or more people who have had a disagreement or disagreement. It can also be used when talking about a person trying to make up for past mistakes or bad behavior. In either case, the phrase implies that the situation was not in a desirable state, but that by taking certain steps, the situation could be brought back to a more pleasant state.

Example Sentences

  • After our argument, I knew I had to do something to clear the air between us.
  • I know I said some hurtful things, but I'm hoping that by apologizing it will help to clear the air.
  • The boss's apology after making a mistake helped to quickly clear the air in the office.
  • I'm happy to finally clear the air after all this time.

The meanings of the words in the "clear the air" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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