Are you tired of your current position in life? Do you think it's time for a change? If so, you could "turn over a new leaf" and start fresh with a new outlook on things. This post unpacks everything you need to know about this expression's meaning and origin.
Turn Over a New Leaf Meaning
If you decide to "turn over a new leaf," it means that you're intending to make a change in your life for the better by giving yourself a fresh start. The phrase can refer to a complete overhaul of your values system or alter your behavior in some way that makes a positive change in your life.
If you're taking a new direction with your career or trying to improve your health and leave bad habits behind, you're "turning over a new leaf," expecting a drastic change for the better. Essentially, you plan to leave your old life, attitude, or habits behind you and start over with a "clean slate."
Turn Over a New Leaf Example Usage
"I'm tired of the same-old things in my life; it's time to turn over a new leaf."
"I feel like the last decade was nothing but a waste of my time at this company. It's time to turn over a new leaf and start looking for a new job."
"I've been smoking for two decades, and I'm tired of it. It's time to turn over a new leaf and quit."
"I'm 40 and fat, and my health is declining fast. It's time to turn over a new leaf and start a diet and exercise program."
"The wife and I don't get along anymore; we're weeks away from divorce. It's time to end this relationship and turn over a new leaf for both of us."
Turn Over a New Leaf Origin
To "Turn over a new leaf" originates from the 16th century. During this time, the pages of books underwent manufacturing from parchment paper made of leaves. As a result, "leaves" refer to pages, not actual leaves falling from trees and plants.
During the 1500s, it was common for people to use the saying, "turning over to a blank page," which would eventually change to "turning over a new leaf." The phrase hasn't changed much in the last 500+ years, and it's still a common expression used in modern society in its original meaning and context.
Phrases Similar to Turn Over a New Leaf
- Make a fresh start.
- A change for the better.
- Reconstruct yourself.
Phrases Opposite to Turn Over a New Leaf
- Stick to your guns.
- Remain steadfast.
What is the Correct Saying?
- Turn over a new leaf.
- Turning over a new leaf.
Ways People May Say Turn Over a New Leaf Incorrectly
To "turn over a new leaf" has nothing to do with plants or leaves. Using the phrase to describe the physical action of turning over leaves is the incorrect use of the saying. Using the expression to describe a minor change in your life, like deciding to switch deodorant brands, is also the incorrect use of the term. Using the plural "turning over new leaves" is also wrong.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Turn Over a New Leaf
You can use "turn over a new leaf" in social and professional settings where you're trying to imply that you want to make a change in your circumstances of life trajectory. For instance, "turning over a new leaf" at work could be making a career change or moving to another company. At home, you could "turn over a new leaf" to improve your fitness or health.