to come out clean


Senior Member
Português de Portugal

A politician did something wrong in the past. When he comes out clean , does this only mean that :

1. he came forward with that information to the public
2. he got "off the hook", he escaped the problem

Or is this just a figurative expression always related to the idiom:
"He was dragged through the mud, but came out clean" -> he was victim of a smear campaign with no basis after all
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think you're confusing two colloquial expressions.

    To come clean means to provide a true account about some act, e.g. a confession.

    To come out clean means to suffer no ill effect as in your sample sentence.
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