Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (transitive) To make straight.
- Straighten out your necktie and comb your hair.
- 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- "Then bring them to me," she said. And when the tinsmiths came, bringing with them all their tools in baskets, she inquired, "Can you straighten out those dents in the Tin Woodman, and bend him back into shape again, and solder him together where he is broken?"
- (transitive, idiomatic) To correct or rectify.
- I hope they can straighten out the problem with my bill soon.
- (transitive, idiomatic) To eliminate confusion from or concerning.
- As soon as I straighten out which of the twins is which, I'll start calling them by their names.
1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, “chapter XIII”, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855:
- “What have they done to stir him up?” “It's this book Daddy wrote about preparatory schools. He wrote a book about preparatory schools. Did you know he had written a book about preparatory schools?” “Hadn't an inkling. Nobody tells me anything.” “Well, he wrote this book about preparatory schools. It was about preparatory schools.” “About preparatory schools, was it?” “Yes, about preparatory schools.” “Thank God we've got that straightened out at last. I had a feeling we should get somewhere if we dug long enough. And – ?”
- (intransitive, idiomatic) To correct; to stop doing something wrong.
- It is not enough to stand aside and hope problems straighten out on their own.
- (transitive) To tidy, neaten, or organize.