clean up one's act
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British pronunciation/klˈiːn ˌʌp wˈɒnz ˈakt/
American pronunciation/klˈiːn ˌʌp wˈʌnz ˈækt/

to make an effort to demonstrate a better behavior and treat others better

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to [clean] up {one's} act definition and meaning

What is the origin of the idiom "clean up one's act" and when to use it?

The idiom "clean up one's act" originated from theater in the 1800s, when messy improvised acts were common. As plays became more professional, directors demanded neat appearances, strict adherence to scripts, and tighter control over performances. They told disordered actors to clean up their acts by disciplining behavior and appearances to meet professional standards through preparation and conformity. It is generally used when an individual must overhaul existing conduct, attitudes, or lifestyle choices that are subpar or problematic through committed self-improvement and discipline.

She would clean up her act immediately if she wants to keep this high-paying job.
I've really cleaned up my act since meeting my girlfriend and getting serious about our relationship.
She warns that if he doesn't clean up his act soon, there will be serious consequences.
They will have cleaned up their act by the time the big inspection rolls around next month.
They tell him he needs to clean up his act at work if he wants to keep his job.
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Meaning of "To [clean] up {one's} act"
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