the 16th-century religious movement in Europe that resulted in the formation of Protestantism. — Reformational, adj.
clean house To purge an organization of corruption and inefficiency; frequently used of government agencies. This expression and its noun form housecleaning have been used figuratively since the early part of this century.
cleanse the Augean stables To wipe out a massive accumulation of corruption, to clean house; to perform any seemingly impossible, arduous, and extremely unpleasant task. According to classical mythology, Augeas, king of Elis, kept three thousand oxen in stables which had not been cleaned for thirty years. As one of the twelve labors for which he was to be granted immortality, Hercules was assigned the task of cleaning them in a single day. This he accomplished by diverting the river Alpheus through the stables. A variant of this expression appeared as early as 1599.
clean up one’s act To make one’s actions or outward behavior more presentable
or acceptable to others; to shape up. Although the exact origin of this recent American slang expression is unknown, it may derive from the theater; an entertainer is sometimes told to delete offensive or obscene material from his performance. Similar recent American slang expressions are to get one’s act together and the abbreviated get it together .
turn over a new leaf To change one’s ways for the better, to become a new and better person; to start fresh, to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.
I will turn over a new leaf, and write to you. (Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown at Oxford. 1861)
Literally, this phrase means to turn to a clean, fresh page in a book. Since an open book is often figuratively used to represent a person’s life, turning to a blank page in this book of life symbolizes the start of a new and better chapter in one’s personal history. Use of this expression dates from the 16th century.