go straight

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go straight (third-person singular simple present goes straight, present participle going straight, simple past went straight, past participle gone straight)

  1. (idiomatic) To discontinue engaging in criminal acts; to become a law-abiding person.
    • 1921, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter 3, in The Efficiency Expert:
      "Oh," said Jimmy, "if I ever want any one to break into a safe, come to you, huh?"
      "You get me," replied the other. . . .
      "I should think," said Jimmy, "that a man of your ability could earn a living by less precarious methods." "You would think so," replied the Lizard. "I've tried two or three times to go straight. Wore out my shoes looking for a job."
    • 1951 Sept. 24, "Mexico: Toward the Perfect State," Time:
      [H]e got a law passed threatening them with jail if they did not go straight in the future.
    • 1989, John Grisham, A Time to Kill (2004 reprint edition), →ISBN, p. 12 (Google preview)"
      He's proved very reliable since he was paroled. He's a good kid tryin' to go straight, for the most part.
    • 1995 July 2, John Tierney, "The Big City: Cheats Like Us," New York Times (retrieved 13 Sep 2012):
      "I can't take no more time in jail," he said. "I'm going straight."