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"Borrón y cuenta nueva."

Translation:Let bygones be bygones.

4 years ago

222 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Grace-Georgia

I didn't know what "Borrón y cuenta nueva" and "Let bygones be bygones" mean.

It helped me a lot to read all the comments and read all these sentences:

"blot and count again" "smudge and check again" "let's erase and start over" "let's wipe the slate clean and start over" "start from scratch" "back to the drawing board" "don't cry over spilt milk" "let things that have happened in the past, stay in the past" "It's all in the past"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DeanG6
DeanG6
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'smudge and new account' was accepted as correct. I like it as a literal translation. Thank you, Grace-Georgia, for listing all of the alternatives in one place.

EDIT: The purpose of this comment was simply to post the literal translation for anyone who might be interested to know how the phrase is constructed in Spanish. The literal translation I posted is what DL suggests as the correct answer for whomever attempts the literal translation. Some have taken offense for whatever reason.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BritniMont

Thank you! Learning the literal translations of idioms really helps me. Plus, it's pretty interesting to see how Spanish speakers word things differently than English speakers.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luna_Tik

Thank you for phrasing that much better than I would have! I've been restraining myself from posting to complain about how I'd rather learn the actual Spanish idioms than be forced to use a similar English idiom as the "translation" (when in many cases they both have different meanings). You put it much more eloquently

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arefgee
arefgee
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I second that!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mamaveebee

Ditto

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OmniGlot2000

Waisay I am amazed how intelligent, well mannered and helpful the people on duolingo are, from all around the world...not to mention witty.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kekistanese
Kekistanese
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That's because Duolingo is place for people that genuinely want to learn. And people that love to study, tend to be well educated and behave :).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arefgee
arefgee
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I am impressed, too! I am impressed, also, with the knowledge of grammar so many have.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/royalt213
royalt213
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I didn't have time to read the insanely long rants below this, but I, for one, like to know the literal translation in addition to the logical translation. I don't know why everyone felt the need to make cases against literal translations, because it is still very useful knowledge. So...thank you!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thea.Rodriguez

Oh dear you will find it so hard to learn a language believing that their are no literall transalations it is virtually all spoken differently!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bespokeenglish

DL accepted 'Let's turn over a new leaf', as an alternative.
:-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stoneswivel

Yes, but not "Turn over a new leaf".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LobsangC
LobsangCPlus
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Because that would be likened to a command, which -would start the feud all over again, si or no?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kailagenevieve

But it didn't accept "The past is in the past"...?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PiaAlicia-

'clean the slate', 'start from scratch' and 'back to the drawing board' all seem quite suitable as correct meanings for this one. 'But let bygones, be bygones' (which i was forcd to choose) and those similar seem like too big of a stretch. And I'm wondering if there's not another spanish idiom that better exemplifies those.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/james.ray1
james.ray1
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It seems like "Blot and count again" is the best phrase that preserves the meaning of the original Spanish, while also making sense in English.

Update: I just had this same problem, and submitted "Blot and count again." and got it wrong. I've reported that my answer should be accepted, and that the "correct" solution is unnatural (in that it is too far a stretch in meaning).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dar320
Dar320
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Blot and count again: the most helpful comment of all, shows the connection between the spanish words and the not so obvious idiom meaning

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alejandrocarmo

"Borrón y cuenta nueva" significa perdonar o liquidar la deudas antiguas para empezar un nuevo negocio o unas cuentas nuevas del negocio. También podemos decir "empezar de cero".

I think is better "Agua pasada no mueve el molino" for "Let bygones be bygones".

que quiere decir que las oportunidades del pasado ya no están disponibles

or the past no work now.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ann-thatsme

There is another English expression for "Agua pasada no mueve el molino", and that is "That's water under the bridge". Both expressions mean an incident or offense is past and should be forgotten.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/boersenanouk

Thanks for this comment, saved me from having to google translate the sentence! Think I still prefer the dutch one: do not pull old cows out of the ditch (geen oude koeien uit de sloot trekken).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IndiaAlexandra

Is it just me or does "let bygones be bygones" sound to casual? I feel like i would say "borrón y cuenta nueva" to someone after a loss (losing a game, breaking up with someone etc.) And i wouldn't use "let bygones be bygones" in the same context. Thoughts?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lizzie139260

The thing is that in English when we say, "Let bygones be bygones" we are usually indicating that we are forgiving someone for something that happened in the past, "what's past is past". The Spanish phrase literally translated as blot or smudge and a new account is admonishing to blot out the past and start again. It's not exactly the same, and so to simply have what someone thinks is a similar idiom in English but doesn't get to the gist of exactly what it means, literally, is not fully learning. And we should all further consider that a word or phrase in one Spainish culture may mean something very different is a different Spanish speaking culture, just as an idiom used frequently in one English speaking country may mean something different in another, or may not be used at all in another, or may be considered extremely rude in another. In fact, the cultural context of most idioms that are not literal translations really makes impossible to find an idiom in another language that means exactly the same. For example, one previous comment suggested "Let's bury the hatchet" as a better translation and in some ways it is, but many English speaking cultures it's an unknown idiom, and in others it's potentially offensive because of the comic way the phrase has been used in the past.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bowlerae

The literal translating was just not clicking with me until you gave all of those examples. Now I can see how it would mean "let bygones be bygones". Thank you.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/magicalrainxx

This helped me so much. Gracias!!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DevinJones4

omg thank you I was so lost.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoFiorillo
JoFiorillo
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Very helpful

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dafoxe

Thanks! I was having trouble with the literal translation as well.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kuponsaver

Thank you for this wonderful summary. It was very helpful!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lory1607
Lory1607
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Thank you Grace-Georgia! Your help was very useful for me!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Trinity682

so i guess bygones means mistakes...?

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deb1134
Deb1134
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Bygones could be past mistakes. It is things in the past, whether an old grudge, disagreement or regret. However, the word itself does not have to be used for negative, it can instead be simply outmoded. Ex. She missed the bygone days before cell phones. He studied the bygone age of horse and buggy. When you agree to let bygones be bygones, you are choosing to ignore someone's outmoded way of thinking. Rather than try to argue and change their mind, you accept that person as is. If you both agree to let bygones be bygones, you are acknowledging that you both have a different way of thinking about something, but rather than hash it out or tossing away the relationship, you agree to disagree. Hence you let bygones be bygones.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alexcanny
Alexcanny
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Don't cry over split milk, let things that have happenes in the past, stay in the past :)

1 day ago

https://www.duolingo.com/barnheart

I was watching the new batman movie in spanish and they use this phrase (borrón y cuenta nueva) for the computer program Catwoman is trying to get. Helps give some context if you've seen that movie.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bogin2
bogin2
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Borrón means inkblot or smudge. In english the movie called the program clean slate, i guess that was the refrence

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ricaloca

Wow, that's cool. How fun that you understood it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cortly

I know. When i go somewhere and hear people speaking spanish, it's always wwwaaaaaayyyyy too fast for me to translate it to english in my head.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dasi_
Dasi_
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I remember reading a book when I was in around sixth grade or so (can't remember the name) about a man new to the USA and his difficulty in understanding English, His primary language was Spanish. He said his father had even greater difficulty because we all spoke so fast. In the book his father never understood a certain store owner who kept yelling what sounded to him like "guerrarajia"--one word. All he knew was that the man always seemed angry and since he couldn't explain himself he walked away. The author explains that when he finally learned English he understood that the (rude) man was actually saying four words: "Get out of here."

That has stuck with me all my life and is a life lesson I remember when I think the same thing about someone speaking a language I don't know. Every language sounds fast when you're unfamiliar with it :).

Well that lesson and also that people should have better manners toward others, lol. (referring to the rude store owner in the book not your good self of course).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lemur00

I dunno. Admittedly I've forgotten most of the French I learned in school, but it never sounded nearly as fast as Spanish. Also the word breaks seem more distinguishable in other euro languages. I feel like the real challenge of Spanish is indeed the speed at which it's spoken.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lizzie139260

For me I've noticed some people from different Spanish speaking regions or countries speak faster or slower. It is true in the US too, in some regions of the Southeast people speak more slowly, some regions of say, NYC people speak very fast. And in some regions people use more slang or idioms that also make it harder.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBW.
JBW.
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LOL. Same for me. That's why I also do Rosetta Stone.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matt.hampson

Rosetta Stone is to boring for me

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devon.aston

Did you know: that they are not really speaking fast you just think they are because you sont speak the language!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaacAddis

Exactly. It's not that Spanish speakers speak too fast, rather it's our speed of comprehension

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jonbriden

I thought this was an interesting idiom, so I looked into its usage a bit more.

"borrón" is literally a smudge or an ink-blot, and "cuenta nueva" means "new account", so it's similar to our English idiom of "wipe the slate clean". (For those who don't know a "slate" is like a small blackboard, which you can write on with chalk.)

In the English idiom, the idea is that the slate has been used to keep a record of your mistakes, indiscretions, wrongdoings, etc. So when all of that is forgiven and forgotten, we "wipe the slate clean".

The Spanish version relates to accounting, from the days when accounts were written in ink. If a mistake was made there was no way to correct it, so a "borrón" was made to show that the account was no longer valid.

A more complete phrase is "hacer un borrón y cuenta nueva", so you might see expressions like "Hagamos un borrón y cuenta nueva" = "Let's wipe the slate clean".

It's also common to use it with either the definite or indefinite article.

Here are some examples taken from Spanish literature (try to figure out what they mean)...

  • ¿Quién no intenta un borrón y cuenta nueva?
  • Pero aquí no se ha producido el borrón y cuenta nueva.
  • No estamos pidiendo un borrón y cuenta nueva, no es olvidar lo que se hizo con corrupción.
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ann-thatsme

Let's not forget the most widely-read literature in all of Catholic Spain, the Reina-Valera translation of the Bible. "Borrar" is the verb used throughout it to describe how God "blots out" our sins and remembers them no more. It has the same meaning here: to blot out any record of a debt and to start over.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this sounds like the sense of another proverb in this section, "Cuenta corta, amistad larga", meaning that our friendships last when we "cancel debts" (in other words, hold no grudges and keep no record of wrongs).

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Citizencase

This selection is an example of why I personally love these exercises in spite of the fact that I will get them wrong at first. There is something both literal and idiomatic about the way they translate to English, and this encourages a fun and passive process of acquiring slang and vernacular.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gina51283

I typed "forgive and forget" and it accepted it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/icallmyselfLee

Water under the bridge is also accepted.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devon.aston

Because it basicly means the same thing!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lukecochrane
lukecochrane
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So the correct answer is 'Let bygones be bygones' I have no idea what this even means in English. Help?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/penningtonc

A "bygone" is a very archaic word, it's only generally used in this phrase. If you think of a "bygone" as something that has "been and gone" or something that has happened in the past, the phrase means "Let things that have happened in the past, stay in the past" - don't dwell on the past, move on, look to the future etc.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OldSpiceGuy
OldSpiceGuy
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You might hear "a bygone era" as well, meaning from a time long ago. E.g. That butter churn is from a bygone era.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lilbundlojoy

An easier way of understanding it might be "That thing has passed by and gone." I'm guessing that's how the original word came about, as a contraction of the phrase.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ricaloca

Maybe something like "What's past is past".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galesl

Forgive and forget

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

"Let the past be in the past." It is darned good advice, actually. smile

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lizzie139260

Usually in English, when people say let bygones be bygones they are encourage two people to forget past arguments and be friends again. It's not the perfect translation of this Spanish idiom, which is more about starting fresh or as a previous commenter indicated, start with a clean slate.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ericwdhs

I think I'll remember this one as: Erase and count anew.

Anyway, the comments on all these idioms is really helpful. Thanks guys.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

I tried that and duolingo marked me wrong. I can't get it to accept any literal translation that I've tried. I just want to know what it actually means. This is driving me (further) around the bend.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZootzMagoon

"Inkblot and new check" - Just so you know, if yoy said that in england or amerixa people wouldnt have a clue what you.are saying. If it is pirely for learning purposes then fair enough. But it doesnt make any sense if you said it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jonbriden

I think because this is the idiom section, they don't really accept literal translations (unless it is also an idiom in English). A reasonably close to literal translation is "a clean slate", which is commonly referred to in English meaning that past transgressions/mistakes will be forgiven/forgotten. I give a more detailed explanation above.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

I understand the idiom, I am trying to build my vocabulary, which means I need to understand each word. I've managed to get literal translations accepted for every other idiom, but I cannot find the phrasing for this one. It seems unlikely to me that this is the only one that doesn't have a literal translation. It is possible that's an oversight on DL's part, but I think I just have not found the precise words yet.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Surgoshan
Surgoshan
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That may be because the first half is missing the verb. The full phrase would be "hacer borrón y cuenta nueva".

In this case, a literal translation of "borrón y cuenta nueva" would be "blot/blemish and count again". With "hacer" in front it becomes "make a mistake and count again".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

Thanks, I will try that. I've tried "erase and count again," "erase and count anew," "smudge and count again," and "smudge and count anew." I am a stubborn, stubborn girl, and will not rest until I understand fully. smile

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Why do you want to get literal translations accepted? I understand that you want to learn the literal translations, but often (as in this case) the literal translations don't make any sense.

I don't think it serves anyone trying to learn another language for duolingo to accept literal translations for idioms (or for any sentence). Many people use the "reverse course" to get additional study in the language. I am currently taking the "I speak Spanish and I want to learn English". Some of the idioms in that course are different, so when I do the idioms in that course, I don't want it to accept literal translations. If I was a Spanish speaker taking this course, I wouldn't want it to accept "Inkblot and new check" because if it did accept it, I might not bother to read the discussion, and I might think it was a real English idiom.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

Different learning styles, perhaps. It is certainly not hurting me to know that borron means inkblot. I'm happy with what I learned and for the help I received from the community.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jonbriden

Amen to that!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SyedNaveed2

I tried a literal translation "Inkblot and check new" DL didn't accept and suggested "inkblot and new check"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gato-Negggro

Hi, this is to "megustamivida", SyedNaveed2 and others included in this conversation... "megustamivida" I agree with you in that it is important to know the literal translation, because those words take us closer to the origin of that saying, resulting in us (myself, at least) fully understanding the idiom. If it really means and was first used to say "if there is an inkblot on your cheque, write a new one", I am over the moon, I am so happy to finally understand this, after having read so many of your comments I finally think I know where this idion came from... I mean I can imagine the situations the idiom was used in, originally.... thank you for all your conversation here! also, check this out: http://www.nosabesnada.com/cultura/44646/el-origen-de-la-expresion-borron-y-cuenta-nueva-se-debe-a-los-monjes-medievales/

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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@xtempore, "check" is the correct spelling in the U.S. Double :p

Here in Canada, both "check" and "cheque" are used; probably a gradual drift to the U.S. spelling from the British spelling. I guess elsewhere, only "cheque" is used.

Aside from that, I don't think the "la cuenta, por favor" meaning is correct for this idiom either. I think the idiom predates restaurant bills. From what I've read, it seems more likely to be a "sum" in an arithmetic class, or maybe an "account".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SyedNaveed2

I understand it as if you have an inkblot on your cheque/check take a new one - no point in crying over spilt milk - inkblot/check

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/megustamivida

Inkblot and new check worked! I am so pleased to finally have a literal translation. Thank you very much!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/reinae2

I think 'Blot out and count anew.' And 'Scratch out and count anew' are pretty close literal translations but DL still doesn't like them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/martinlus
martinlus
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Wipe the slate clean, is about as close a match to a more literal match. And accepted! Yay, go Owl!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lilo_sh

this sentence means : let it go, like forgive someone

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/THeNeeno

Or move on in general, such as from a difficult period in your life.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogo13222

let bygones be bygones and Zygons be Zygons!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/haniye70

What does zygones mean?????

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Zygons are aliens in Dr Who. "Let Zygons be Zygons" is a common phrase among Dr Who fans.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogo13222

Zygons are big red aliens that are covered in suckers and can shape shift. and yes BarbraMorris, It is a common phrase among my friends and I.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/meganhayter

When you click on the words for the definition it just repeats the sentence in spanish. Very unhelpful. And if the word bygones is used twice it should stay the same word, shouldn't it?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brione
brionePlus
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"Let bygones be bygones", is not a literal translation of the Spanish. It just means the same thing.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/joeoDrisco

Yes

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chaolan77

I wanted to write 'To turn over a new leaf'. Did anyone try that?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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That seems like a good match to me.

This German (!) site lists "turn over a new leaf" as an equivalent English idiom: http://translate.deacademic.com/hacer%20borr%C3%B3n%20y%20cuenta%20nueva/es/en/1

It also mentions "cut your losses" which also seems like a good match.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eahall
eahall
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I get the sense that "cuenta" implies keeping score. So it would be something like Smudge (out the old score) and start a new count/score although I realize that borron is a noun and not an imperative.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

It is an account or an accounting. It could be your bank account, your savings account, Santa Claus' list if who is naughty or nice, or your FaceBook account. Borron is an inkblot that could wipe out the current value of your account.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LisaGrands

I was just now looking at WordReference's forum, and a question from a user (from Spain, native language Spanish) asked this:

'How would you say this spanish expression [in English] "Borron y cuenta nueva"? It means that nothing from the past matters, a new life starts now!'

So, here is a Spanish speaker giving what he/she understands it to mean and wants to know how to express the same sentiment in English.

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1150083

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

She and DL both seem correct, but it is a bit like ordering tapas and being brought a hamburger. It just lacks a Spanish flavor. It is the difference between translating a news report vs translating poetry. It is also the difference between speaking Spanish and translating to English. I love the Spanish "sabor."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LisaGrands

Estoy de acuerdo! Mucho más fácil para traducir un informe que un poema! :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/benkhaase

what is a bygone

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Surgoshan
Surgoshan
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Something that has gone by; it's in the past. Let bygones be bygones == let things in the past stay in the past.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeHamvas

"Water under the bridge" is also accepted. Blot out the old accounts and start new seems like a slightly literal translation.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/geneven
genevenPlus
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I think that "back to the drawing board" is very close to the original Spanish, with its idea of starting with a clean slate.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jonbriden

I disagree. Having a "clean slate" refers to forgetting about past offences. Going "back to the drawing board" refers to a plan that did not work, and so a new idea is needed.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Keslsmith

Whats a bygone???

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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A bygone is something that has "gone by" or "happened" in the past. "Let bygones be bygones" is an idiom that means "Forget about the past, and start over." Here's a more detailed explanation:

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/41028/meaning-of-let-bygones-be-bygones

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Keslsmith

The so much!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AngelinaJe

Wipe the slate clean is a closer translation

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TuAmigoMarcos
TuAmigoMarcos
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Literal (from google translate): Inkblot and new account

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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google translate is not a good source for idioms as it translates word by word. Please scroll up for more better information.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SamFishwick
SamFishwick
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Blot and new check.. apparently thats a thing

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jonbriden

I feel that description fails to explain the use of the word "cuenta". I found another explanation of the origin here... http://diegogomezojeda.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/borron-y-cuenta-nueva.html

Here's what it says...

  • The origin of the term "borrón y cuenta nueva" comes from the old accounting houses, when writing with pen and ink. There was no way to correct an account, because the ink was indelible and could not be deleted, so it was necessary to make a "borrón", a spot to indicate that the account was no longer valid.
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gato-Negggro

Thanx, it's also an interesting article :) I realize for some proverbs and idioms people come up with different explanations, equally logical and possible. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galesl

Great link, thanks! Have a lingot :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/misstongsh

Borrar is to erase. So, if you erase stuff then it's a new account, as in a new ledger.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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  • Borrar is a verb meaning "to erase"

  • Borrón is a noun meaning "ink spot". The accent matters, and there is no conjugation of borrar that gets you borrón.

So the actual meaning is from bookkeeping with ink pens. If you spilled ink and ruined a page, you would need to start over with your accounts.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/singingsoprano

They seem to be related concepts and roots.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/a.d1411

We can discuss here but I don't know what's the big deal about DuoLingo not literally translating Spanish idioms to English. It wouldn't make sense if they did that. I wish DuoLingo could explain when and how each idiom is used. But please don't complain about not getting the right answer in order to move on, just drag the mouse over to the Spanish idiom, they have the translation and just take a guess!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Atokirina

Can someone please translate what it means literally?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NuttyD
NuttyD
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I believe it's erase and start a new account, like, erase and start a new

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Atokirina

thanks!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/d3t0xx

I have to say, I have a really hard time following these translations. To me it doesn't seem as though they translate well. Im very new to the Spanish language so it could be me, but does anyone else feel this way?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lucky101man

Rip it up and start again.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jennifer15424

First, you underestimate the logical understanding of most people. I understood the intent even without grammatical perfection. Second, knowing the literal translation of idioms helps to deepen one's cultural understanding. If that is not your motivation in learning a new language, then so be it, but it is for many people. Cada loco con su tema.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RacoonKing

"Start with a clean slate" was accepted for me on 4/27/16.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Helen459910

I like knowing the literal translations of idioms. I think much can be gleaned from knowing how a language forms its idioms. I don't see why people are getting so worked up.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dockeryz
dockeryz
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It seems like one could say "sea lo que sea" easier than this. Before seeing the correct answer I believed it to be some sort of "start from scratch" or "back to the drawing board" equivalent. Apparently, I was way off.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kassandra8286
kassandra8286
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I don't think you're way off at all. One of the translations of this idiom is "wipe the slate clean", which is similar to "start from scratch", although I guess the former implies a past misdeed that needs to be forgotten about and moved on from, rather than just a plan or idea that didn't work out.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dockeryz
dockeryz
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After further research, it seems you're right; I wasn't that far off. I took the word "bygone" for granted when I wrote my question. I myself have never used the idiom "let bygones be bygones." In fact, I find myself saying "It's all in the past" or something similar. Regardless, the closest translation I can think of now is coming to a truce, or make up.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jwsimpson21

Hakuna Matata!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidFam9

Does anyone know if these phrases are widely accepted or only in some Spanish speaking countries?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jindr004
jindr004
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These phrases are just as widely known and spoken as their English equivalents. Also, just like English idioms, no one really thinks too much about the literal meanings of the phrases.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattIsles

"Wipe the slate clean" would seem a closer approximation of the English idiom equivalent.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TerryRay6

I love the comments because the Spanish to English dictionary I have loaded in my iphone does not even have some words such as "barron". I guess I need a better one.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaRouxd
LaRouxd
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For anyone curious i tried "water under the bridge" and it was accepted

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bookbeast
bookbeast
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It would really help with the idioms to get a literal translation first--otherwise, it's just confusing and any nuances are totally lost.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Linda_from_NJ

I put "Erase and rewind." It's even more literal than "Let bygones be bygones," and sounds more natural. I nominate this as the translation that should be used. I'm stumping for up votes here!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeBradle4

I answered, "It's water under the bridge." I anticipated that it would be counted wrong and that I would report it because I believe my idiom conveys the same idea. That's the problem with idioms. Just wanted DL to consider another possibility.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrea836115

What does it mean bygones in English

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RacoonKing

Bygones are things that have already happened. "Let bygones be bygones" means to forget about the past, since it's over and you can't change it now.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IanTully1

"Wipe the slate clean", might be closer to the Spanish idiom.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahLeopo1

I don't think anyone can understand how they come up with the translations for these idioms. Easiest just to memorize the phrase and ignore the literal translations, as the idioms are usually quite skewed from both the literal translations and english phrasing. If anyone has any pointers that would help me get these, I'd really appreciate it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ufjdmba

I actually love this one because of how literally it translates. lets erase and count new. What a crazy language :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Aribada

Really, 'let bygones be bygones' means to 'forgive and forget'. This phrase has more of a 'move on from mistakes' feel to it - rub out and start afresh! Much closer to the actual translation

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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According to this article, the Spanish phrase means to forgive and forget, but can also mean to start with a clean slate. https://expresionesyrefranes.com/2007/06/05/hacer-borron-y-cuenta-nueva/

It says (rough translation, I'm using "borrón" instead of "smudge" or "blot")

"The Spanish expression for today makes reference to the fact that we don't need to be spiteful in life, but rather we have to know how to pardon and forget bad feelings and although I have already revealed the essence of the meaning of today's phrase, I don't want to continue without defining what one of the words in this expression means that you may not know.

A "borrón" is originally a spot of ink that is made on the paper. As writing was formerly done with pen and ink, it was common to occasionally make a "borrón", even without realizing, on the paper on which we were writing, but since they invented pens with BIC tips, borróns are much more intentional. So nowadays we say that we make a borrón when we correct something repeatedly with many lines of the pen.

Well, "hacer borrón y cuenta nueva" means to forget debts, errors committed by other people, fights with other people, etc and continue as if they had never existed (forget them, not keeping rancor for it). It would be like starting from zero forgetting the bad past. As if we reset our computer (the computer has problems, it hangs, and to start from zero, we restart it), but with ourselves (if my grandmother was reading this this she would be scandalized).

An example: When Maria arrived in the city she had many problems integrating because of the language, her coworkers, the new culture. But she has decided to hacer borrón y cuenta nueva and undertake a new stage in that city with much more enthusiasm.

So sometimes it is better to hacer borrón y cuenta nueva than to be keeping rancor eternally, since as we said that day "a vivir que son dos días" (live as there are only two days, make hay while the sun shines)."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brian465488

Wouldn't "clean the slate" be more accurate?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bookbeast
bookbeast
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I think the phrase "start with a clean slate" is probably a better match.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/geneven
genevenPlus
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I think "erase and start again" captures the essence of the expression. Certainly making up some metaphor that isn't even in the Spanish is not appropriate.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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The point of this whole section is to match a Spanish idiom with an English idiom that conveys the same idea. The intention is not to just translate the words. "Start with a clean slate" is an English idiom that is used metaphorically, but "erase and start again" isn't used metaphorically, at least as far as I know.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michaelnield

Borrar means rub out or erase. One of the Spanish meanings of borrón is rubber or eraser. The expression means Use the rubber and start a new account.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gchristie1

Idioms accentuate the essential truth that languages are never literal translations of each other. I wonder what Spanish speakers would do with, "You are the apple of my eye."

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elenashastina

i found the other meaning : "Clean slate" or "Fresh start"? in general meaning "Flawless reputation" which is not very close to the "Let bygones be bygones"? Please explain :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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The related expression is "Wipe the slate clean". A "slate" is like a small blackboard for writing with chalk. Students used to use them for their lessons. When they messed up a calculation too badly, they would "wipe the slate clean" and start again. The words are not exactly close to "Let bygones be bygones", but they are quite close to "borrón y cuenta nuevo". But the underlying meaning is the same; if you mess up a relationship too badly, you want to make the past go away and start fresh.

I haven't heard of the meaning of "flawless reputation" being used for "clean slate".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IanTully1

Not a school slate in this example, but one used by shop-keepers and bar-tenders to keep a "tally" of what the customer owed, to be paid (hopefully) on payday. "Put it on the slate" was a request to have it added to your account. Sometimes the debt was forgiven and the slate wiped clean. A version of the Lord's Prayer used in Scotland has "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SallyFae

I think it is closest to 'Turn a new leaf' as in a a new page in your note book to start over.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jonbriden

Sorry, but I disagree. "Wiping the clean slate clean" refers to forgiving/forgetting past offences or insults. "Turning over a new leaf" refers to changing the way you live. The former is something that happens between two (or more people), whereas the latter is usually just a personal choice to live a better life.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beetle78

"Wiping the slate clean" could refer to changing your plans, too, though! And why no "turn over a new leaf" on top of the past offenses?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devindeluxe1

I thought "borrón y cuenta nueva" translated to "clean slate"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BenjaminKnott

What does "bygone" mean?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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A "bygone" is something from the past, something that has gone by. Nowadays, I think it's usually only used as an adjective, "from a bygone era". But we still have the noun form in this idiom.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bettisonj

I put "build a bridge and get over it" ie. Let it go..... as we can also in english no?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sieglug
sieglug
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my dictionary gave let's start over again or let's start with a clean slate--you marked that wrong

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IndaImmega
IndaImmega
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Wonderful thread. Thank you, all!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thebreef
thebreef
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i thought 'borron' meant 'eraser'. But that is a 'goma de borrar'. not being a native speaker of english i had never heard of inkblot or smudge.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mateusgrb

Can anyone explain the interchange of sounds between 'b' and 'v'? One often sounds like the other.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmandaK0

can anyone tell me what a bygone is

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rubikscubelover

excuse me, what are bygones? lewl :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mormon_Nerd

What confuses me most with Spanish idioms is that why don't Spanish speakers use words CLOSER rather than FARTHER from a direct translation?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/singingsoprano

Because they are not translating from English. They have their own histories. Language develops our if experiences.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CorrinaCou

It didnt accept "back to square onw.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/donlaurin
donlaurin
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WTF! Stain and new account?!! What does that mean, Duolingo?! What does it mean?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/theRealRabbit

"Wipe, and start anew" would be a hell of a lot more effective for remembering this idiom, and learning the meanings of the words, than "let bygones be bygones".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NickCleary1

I don't even know what a bygone is

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NuttyD
NuttyD
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What's wrong with "Live and let live"? As an English speaker, I always thought the two were basically the same, forget the past, start a new. Forgiveness etc.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matteo328

Wow.. This thread is immense.. Half the reason i like duo is to trawl through interesting comments :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RiwaSpence
RiwaSpence
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LOL that rant discussion thread was funny. I think if it is only in the idioms (or other such similar sections) section that this literal/non-literal issue pops up, we can give it a little more leeway, yeah? (^__^) Duolingo's discussion boards have the most civilized arguments ever LOL

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jocelyn-H
Jocelyn-H
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What's wrong with "put the past behind you"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DareAllen
DareAllen
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Okay but what is a bygone?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DannPatrick

Think, "Gone by". An instance in the past. Even, loosely, a memory. In bygone ages we ate more healthy foods. It's an archaic term used mostly in the phrase, "let bygones be bygones."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dschiermeyer07

Think of white out You made a mistake then you white out and start new

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saramblanco
Saramblanco
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Borrón y cuenta nueva no es así alguien se lo ha inventado creo yo vaya.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kurtla
kurtla
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As someone who is not a native English speaker (I am danish), it is really interesting how proverbs tranlate from Spanish to English. Sometimes it makes more sense to do a literal translation from Spanish to Danish! :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdrienneOrlando

"Smudge it and call it new" is how I think of it in Spanish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/feyMorgaina
feyMorgaina
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Hm... I'm not sure if this is considered an idiom but did anyone else think of "tabula rasa" (blank slate)? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabula_rasa)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devdevjc

wait i still don't understand what "let bygones be bygones" means. can someone tell it to me in a nutshell please? Thank you!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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"a bygone" is "something that happened in the past" or "something that has gone by". "Let bygones be bygones" means "Let what has happened in the past stay in the past".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Futbolmirapol
Futbolmirapol
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I love that explanation that BarbaraMorris made, I would also say in addition to the explanation of "Letting what has happened in the past, stay in the past", you can also look at it as if you had an argument with someone and you two stopped talking for years, only to see each other again years later and meet again and one will often say, "Let bygones be bygones?" as a way of saying sorry, and the other will usually agree :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/theRealRabbit

Literal translations would be more helpful than English idioms.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eric427702

As my mother always says "what's done is done"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnaMurphy3

Obviously each spanish speaking country has their own slang, but does anyone know which country's slang/dialect duolingo primarily teaches? Because we've all seen the word they use for sandwich (Cant recall it off the top of my head cus its that forgettable and random) which i dont think any country actually uses...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JimLNA
JimLNA
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They use Spanish from Spain and Latin America. I honestly think they do a very good job of offering a standardized version of Spanish while still being very inclusive of regional differences. Like any language, though, there are too many colloquialisms for them to accept everything.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahLeopo1

It also translates to mean "fresh start."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SheepLikeOnions

hmmm... i thought borron meant eraser. can somebody explain the connection?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marshcmb
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I knew borrón to mean erase, and my native Spanish-speaking wife defined it this way to me when I asked... Of course this is probably an old expression from well before pencils or indeed erasable ink existed. So blotting is the proper transliteration.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elaine27419

I do not know the translation meaning .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/livy1231234

This basically means "Let what is past be past"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/N377r
N377r
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Forget and start anew?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/myrianne93

Delete and count new. The concept helped me solve the English translation. Its like a riddle.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Helen73618

There are hard

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mel211619

This must be one of the biggest comments sections on DL for any of the translations. ! Muy complicado!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thea.Rodriguez

Wax on, wax off... similar meaning but not a direct/correct translation of vocabulary!

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/T_Late
T_Late
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"Blot and count anew" is wrong?

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gustafsson3

smudge and check new. literal translation is crazy lol

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lily853443

Thanks for all the definitions of "let bygones be be bygone" I wasnt expecting to learn english while learning spanish , but thanks to everyone !

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/connorg_777
connorg_777
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Inkblot and new check works

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JosephRa100

I don't know what bygones are

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Trinity682

problems

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZantiaMartin

Has anyone else noticed the glitch with Duolingo? If you rotate your phone sideways, it gives you the answers.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Trinity682

wait really i didnt know that

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sara7378

What r bygones?!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/veronika_szmlr

What does bygones mean?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elquapo7

Let all ex wives move to Detroit or Madrid

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elquapo7

Why wasn't. "I didnt like the sonigram lets abort and try again" not accepted

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/angela763177

Thank you all for helping to make sense of this phrase.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mwboast
mwboastPlus
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I enjoy coming to these Discussion pages. I usually find other people to be helpful and supportive. Grace-Georgia, thank you. I was truly lost on this one, until I read your comment. Also, DeanG6, I agree with you that it is interesting to discover and think about the actual literal translation. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it is actually more confusing, but I find it is always something I am drawn to do.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samantha31231

Hello

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieErdma1

Deja pasar lo pasado.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StuckinSan
StuckinSan
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I tried "live and let live" but was rejected.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kuukua13

I don't know any of these words

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thesnowmaster

What does this mean? Never heard of it. :S

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JaneWobbly

In word reference it is listed as hacer borrón y cuenta nueva. The literal translation could be (make) smudge and recount. As in retell.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/souadelkadi
souadelkadi
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I am not english nor spanish ,but l am thankful to all comments .l've got great knowledge.thanks to all who joined the discussion.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/miaauw

caca

1 week ago