Is there any difference in meaning between the phrase clear the air and have it out with someone? For example:

I think it's time to clear the air with Kate.

I think it's time to have it out with Kate.

According to the Macmillan Dictionary, clear the air and have it out with basically have the same meaning, except they have different wording. Or do they?

1 Answer 1


They can both mean confronting someone you have a problem with, but "have it out with" can suggest an argument or even a fight, whereas "clear the air" is more positive and suggests seeking a resolution.

True, an argument can lead to a resolution, but not always. Stating your intention to "clear the air" certainly sounds like you have the intention of achieving a peaceable outcome.

  • 1
    +1 for a crucial distinction. Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 9:47

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