clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn How to pronounce clean (audio) \

Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : free from dirt or pollution changed to clean clothes clean solar energy
b : free from contamination or disease a clean wound
c : free or relatively free from radioactivity a clean atomic explosion
2a : unadulterated, pure the clean thrill of one's first flight
b of a precious stone : having no interior flaws visible
c : free from growth that hinders tillage clean farmland
3a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind a candidate with a clean record also : free from violations a clean driving record
b : free from offensive treatment of sexual subjects and from the use of obscenity a clean joke
c : observing the rules : fair a clean fight
4 : ceremonially or spiritually pure and all who are clean may eat flesh — Leviticus 7:19 (Revised Standard Version)
5a : thorough, complete a clean break with the past
b : deftly executed : skillful clean ballet technique The gymnast made a clean landing.
c : hit beyond the reach of an opponent a clean single to center
6a : relatively free from error or blemish : clear specifically : legible clean copy
b : unencumbered clean bill of sale
7a : characterized by clarity and precision : trim a clean prose style architecture with clean almost austere lines
b : even, smooth a clean edge a sharp blow causing a clean break
c : free from external hindrances to smooth flow (as of water or air) a clean airplane a ship with a clean bottom
8a : empty the ship returned with a clean hold
b : free from drug addiction has been clean for six months
c slang : having no contraband (such as weapons or drugs) in one's possession All visitors to the prison are searched to make sure they're clean.
d of a computer : not having anything added by a user installed the software on a clean computer
9 : habitually neat

clean

adverb

Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : so as to clean a new broom sweeps clean
b : in a clean manner play the game clean
2 : all the way : completely the bullet went clean through his arm

clean

verb
cleaned; cleaning; cleans

Definition of clean (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to make clean: such as
(1) : to rid of dirt, impurities, or extraneous matter clean a wound
(2) : to rid of corruption vowing to clean up city hall
b : remove, eradicate usually used with up or offclean up that mess
2a : strip, empty a tree cleaned of fruit
b : to remove the entrails from clean fish
c : to deprive of money or possessions often used with outthey cleaned him out completely

intransitive verb

: to undergo or perform a process of cleaning clean up before dinner
clean house
1 : to clean a house and its furniture
2 : to make sweeping reforms or changes (as of personnel)
clean one's clock
: to beat one badly in a fight or competition
clean up one's act
: to behave in a more acceptable manner

clean

noun

Definition of clean (Entry 4 of 4)

: an act of cleaning dirt especially from the surface of something She gave the tub a good clean.

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Other Words from clean

Adjective

cleanness \ ˈklēn-​nəs How to pronounce cleanness (audio) \ noun

Verb

cleanability \ ˌklē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce cleanability (audio) \ noun
cleanable \ ˈklē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce cleanable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of clean in a Sentence

Adjective This table isn't clean. There's a sticky spot where something spilled. He keeps a very clean house. The janitor does a good job of keeping the office clean. I wiped the baby's face clean. He's a clean young man. Cats are very clean animals. Solar power provides clean energy. Adverb Somehow, the top of the machine came clean off. The nail went clean through the wall. The fish were jumping clean out of the water. Verb The carpet needs to be cleaned. They divide household duties so that she cleans and her husband cooks. They cleaned the fish and cooked them on the campfire. skin and clean a rabbit
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In the interim, Owens said, the group along with the city and Jefferson County hold an annual clean-up to clear debris from the creek. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, "These are the Birmingham area’s most flood-prone creeks. What’s being done?," 14 Feb. 2020 His bold, bright ensemble of purples and reds is accented by his signature dangling cross earring and a pair of too-clean-for-this city white boots. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Jordan Fisher Is Our Wholesome New Heartthrob," 12 Feb. 2020 The hood had a series of air tubes that hung near the ground to draw clean air from below the smoke. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Little Wiz Fire Museum curator shares history of firefighting in Medina," 12 Feb. 2020 Twice a day, the 37-year-old drives over to her dad’s apartment in a senior-housing complex to make sure he is fed, clean and has fresh clothes. Clare Ansberry, WSJ, "‘I Feel Very Torn Between My Child and My Dad’—Demands Intensify for the ‘Sandwich Generation’," 12 Feb. 2020 White looks clean and is unlikely to offend a potential buyer. Ronda Kaysen, Houston Chronicle, "'A rebellion against the white kitchen' is helping color make a comeback," 11 Feb. 2020 There's no better feeling than seeing all the debris on your previously white cloth — and to be left with a totally clean face. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Why the Simple Face Wipes Are My One True Love This Valentine's Day," 11 Feb. 2020 This Bluetooth setup manages to pull its weight, coaching you through different brushing modes meant to help whiten your teeth, protect your gums, and deep clean. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "Tech Gadgets to Power Your Wellness Routines, from Meditation to Sleep to Juicing," 11 Feb. 2020 But the trajectory of both companies is cleaner energy for transportation, so this currently small-scale project is worth watching. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Hyundai's Nexo Is Helping U.S. Expand Hydrogen Fuel-Cell R&D," 11 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb His grades were good, but there are no stories of virtuosity, just a heavy-drinking, clean-cut young man who seemed to be the median kind of person at an elite university like Yale in the 1980s. Jill Filipovic, Washington Post, "In this account of the Kavanaugh hearings, no heroes or villains — just humans," 14 Sep. 2019 Juana 's parents didn 't grumble about the work at the factory, where hundreds of workers lined up in rows to perform a task -- stun, slaughter, pluck feathers, clean, cut or debone. Author: Jenny Jarvie, Anchorage Daily News, "Mississippi raids split families and leave children adrift: ‘I just want my mom and dad’," 11 Aug. 2019 Charlottesville has long outgrown its patrician Jeffersonian roots to become a mecca for artists and musicians, youthful retirees, and clean-cut techies. James Loeffler, WSJ, "The Struggle for Charlottesville," 10 Aug. 2018 In 2017, BART’s overtime spending systemwide rose by $2.2 million — but the department charged with keeping stations clean managed to cut its overtime by nearly $1 million, records show. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, "BART reining in janitor overtime after public fallout," 30 Apr. 2018 And that required relying on an image of the Kennedys as upstanding, clean-cut, even glamorous public servants. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The Kennedy family built up a public mythology. TV and movies are taking it apart.," 9 Apr. 2018 Finch, who is remarkably clean-cut for an unwashed anarcho-punk, represents freedom, sexuality and a comfortable racial identity. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, "Review: Deirdre O’Connell Loses Her Grip on Reality in ‘Terminus’," 20 Feb. 2018 Derrick Cardosi, 25, was clean-cut and wearing a white dress shirt and slacks when he was led into Newton County Superior Judge Daniel J. Molter's courtroom Monday by his attorney, Harry Falk. Carrie Napoleon, Post-Tribune, "Jury selection begins in Sumava Resorts stabbing deaths trial," 29 Jan. 2018 An unknown person attempted to open the floor clean-out drain in the men's bathroom at Oct. 6 at 11:41 a.m. from Elm Grove Village Park, 13600 Juneau Blvd. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brookfield-Elm Grove Police Report: Woman refuses to leave drive-thru due to lack of napkin," 12 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There, the brothers learned how to clean and bandage open wounds, unwrap wings from tangled manja and feed raptors raw buffalo meat out of the palms of their hands. Oliver Whang, New York Times, "Meet the Bird Medics of New Delhi," 10 Feb. 2020 The weapons are known as easy to use, easy to clean and easy to modify with a variety of scopes, stocks and rails. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Virginia advances gun control bills that ban sale of some semi-automatics, possession of high-capacity magazines," 7 Feb. 2020 This also comes with a non-slip base and is easy to clean and store. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Friday," 7 Feb. 2020 All other Lawrence County Schools will remain open and teachers and staff at ELS will be working to clean and sanitize the building. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "North Alabama school closed this week due to flu," 29 Jan. 2020 At Wednesday’s meeting, city officials discussed the encampment clean-up process and urged anyone who knows of an encampment to reach out to the city’s DHS or call 311, San Antonio’s non-emergency line. Sara Cline, ExpressNews.com, "Encampments among topics tackled in third public forum on homelessness in San Antonio," 29 Jan. 2020 As in easy to use, an easy-to-rack slide, an easy-to-load magazine, and an easy design to easily clean. Chris Mudgett, Outdoor Life, "The Best New Pistols at SHOT Show 2020," 28 Jan. 2020 Unlike other surfaces, stainless steel is surprisingly easy to clean: just wipe away any streaks or sumdges with a speciality cleaner like Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaning Wipes or Magic Stainless Steel Magic Cleaner. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances and Sinks," 21 Jan. 2020 Not just for sushi, chopsticks are compatible with salads, noodles, veggies, and more and are delightfully easy to clean. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Sad Sack No More: Chic Portable Wares for a Better Packed Lunch," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For underwear, fill the tub with warm water and start by soaking them for 30 minutes for a deeper clean, occasionally moving them around so the detergent can work even better. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "How to Hand Wash Clothes," 7 Feb. 2020 Elmer Lowe was hired as a clean-up worker and is part of an ongoing lawsuit against the company that hired him. CBS News, "Toxic coal ash is making its way to Florida from Puerto Rico. Experts warn of its adverse health effects," 7 Feb. 2020 And at the end of each day, a maid service cleans and straightens every playhouse. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "Why Andalusia is the ultimate Christmas town," 11 Dec. 2019 Adverts containing stereotypes such as women being bad at driving, or a husband being lazy while his wife cleans, will likely fall foul of the new rules recommended by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Billy Perrigo, Time, "The U.K. Just Banned 'Harmful Gender Stereotypes' in Advertising," 14 June 2019 However, while the 900 series bots deleted these maps after each clean, the i7+ will store them to allow users to customize cleaning schedules. James Vincent, The Verge, "iRobot’s latest Roomba remembers your home’s layout and empties itself," 6 Sep. 2018 Sahara Reporters’ relentless exposés of graft under the previous government meant Mr. Buhari’s vow to sweep the country clean of corruption resonated with voters. Ruth Maclean, New York Times, "Nigeria Cracks Down on a Critic, and a New Jersey Town Pushes Back," 22 Dec. 2019 Repeat to run a second water-only cycle to flush the coffee maker clean of all baking-soda residue. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Clean a Coffee Maker," 21 Nov. 2019 The keys have a hard feeling to them, while the majority of the cover is a soft felt-like material — this helps to keep the display clean and gives your wrists a comfortable spot to lean on while typing. CNN Money, "Microsoft's Surface Pro X is for many, but not everyone yet," 5 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clean.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clean

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clean

Adjective

Middle English clene, going back to Old English clǣne "free from impurities or dirt, unblemished," going back to West Germanic *klainja- (whence also Old Saxon klēni "slender, perceptive," Middle Dutch cleine, clēne "of superior quality, elegant, slender, small," Old High German kleini, chleine "fine, delicate, clever"), of uncertain origin

Note: On the grounds that Low German klīn and Swiss German khlii, with an ablaut grade *klīn-, require a verbal origin, a base *klein-/*klain-/klin- has been suggested, whence Old Norse klína "to smear, butter (bread)," Old High German giklenan "to stroke, smear," from Indo-European *glei̯H- "smear, make stick" (whence, also with a nasal present formation, Old Irish glenaid "(it) adheres, cleaves," Welsh glynu "to stick, adhere"; cf. clay). This derivation would imply for the Germanic adjective an original meaning "smeared on well, carefully applied," hence "well crafted, of superior quality" > "free of impurities, fine, delicate" > "small" (see F. Heidermanns, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der germanischen Primäradjektiven, Berlin, 1993). The earlier proposal of a connection with Indo-European *gel- "bright, shining," is improbable, as none of the descendants of Germanic *klainja- have this meaning.

Adverb

Middle English clene, going back to Old English clǣne, derivative of clǣne clean entry 1

Verb

Middle English clenen "to clear of weeds," derivative of clene clean entry 1

Noun

noun derivative of clean entry 3

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Time Traveler for clean

Time Traveler

The first known use of clean was before the 12th century

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Statistics for clean

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for clean

clean

adjective
How to pronounce clean (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: free from dirt, marks, etc. : not dirty
: tending to keep clean
: free from pollution or other dangerous substances

clean

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 4)

informal : all the way : completely or entirely

clean

verb

English Language Learners Definition of clean (Entry 3 of 4)

: to make (something) clean : to remove dirt, marks, etc., from (something)
: to become clean
: to make (something, such as a room) neat and orderly

clean

noun

English Language Learners Definition of clean (Entry 4 of 4)

informal : an act of removing dirt from something

clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn How to pronounce clean (audio) \
cleaner; cleanest

Kids Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : free of dirt or pollution clean air Put on a clean shirt.
2 : not yet used Use a clean sheet of paper.
3 : not involving or showing involvement with anything wrong or illegal good, clean fun I've got a clean record.
4 : not offensive a clean joke
5 : thorough sense 1 She made a clean break with the past.
6 : having a simple graceful form : trim The ship has clean lines.
7 : smooth entry 1 sense 1 The knife made a clean cut.

Other Words from clean

cleanly \ ˈklēn-​lē \ adverb

clean

adverb

Kids Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 3)

: all the way : completely The nail went clean through. Birds picked the bones clean.

clean

verb
cleaned; cleaning

Kids Definition of clean (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make or become free of dirt or disorder I cleaned my room. Please clean up for supper.

Other Words from clean

cleaner noun

clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn How to pronounce clean (audio) \

Medical Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : free from dirt or pollution
b : free from disease or infectious agents a pullorum-clean flock keep installations clean of TB infection
2 : free from smudges or anything that tends to obscure a clean set of fingerprints
3 of a horse's leg : free from curbs or bunches below the hock
4 : free from drug addiction

Medical Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to brush (the teeth) with a cleanser (as a dentifrice)
2 : to perform dental prophylaxis on (the teeth)

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clean

adjective

Legal Definition of clean

: free of amendments or annotations

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Comments on clean

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