clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn \

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 off clean 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 out they 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 \ noun

Verb

cleanability \ ˌklē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
cleanable \ ˈklē-​nə-​bəl \ 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

Basically, these meals will cut your cooking and cleaning time clean in half. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "14 Foil-Pack Dinners You Can Make in Less Than 30 Minutes," 11 Feb. 2019 After leaving her job on Wall Street, founder Melissa Butler began cooking up clean formulas completely free of chemicals in her home. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "The 15 Best Black-Owned Beauty Brands I'll Never Stop Talking About," 11 Feb. 2019 Leverage is another concern: Bristol-Myers had a clean balance sheet, with $1.5 billion in net cash at the end of September. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Bristol-Myers and Celgene: Side Effects Will Be Temporary," 3 Jan. 2019 If the car is clean, ride is safe and they are catered to with phone chargers, and music options, then $5 would be nice for a trip more than 5 to 10 miles. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "You're Probably Not Tipping Your Uber Driver Enough," 12 Dec. 2018 Once your sponge is ready, drizzle face wash over the sponge and gently massage your face in circular motions until your skin is clean and your makeup is removed. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "How to Use a Konjac Sponge for Your Best Skin Ever," 22 Oct. 2018 The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has brought national attention to the need for stricter enforcement off federal clean-water standards. Kaitlin Menza, Redbook, "Everything You Need to Know Before Voting in the Midterm Elections," 10 Oct. 2018 The club has three clean sheets in its last four matches. Charlie Hatch, Cincinnati.com, "Scouting report: FC Cincinnati hosts Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night at Nippert Stadium," 13 July 2018 This would better enhance the experience of sitting in a home that is newly clean. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "The Perfect Candle for Adults Who Insist on Saying ‘Veggies’," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 The build-up has been light on trash talk, with Parker living up to his image of being clean-cut and courteous. USA TODAY, "Heavyweight champ Parker hits the road to boost profile," 21 Sep. 2017 Suave, clean-cut, and well-spoken, Macron the candidate seemed like the product of a centrist basement lab. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "Emmanuel Macron Is No Model For Democrats," 25 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Gena, who studied set design and retail window display, says their daughter still has household chores, such as making her bed and cleaning her room. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Meet the 9-Year-Old Telling You What to Wear," 6 Oct. 2018 That’s the type of content social media companies are trying to crack down on by cleaning out fake accounts and banning users like Jones who violate their terms of service. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Trump buys into the conspiracy that social media censors conservatives," 18 Aug. 2018 Induction ranges and cooktops can be a high performance alternative, and easier to clean as well. Jamie Gold, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Clearing the indoor air," 28 June 2018 One penned a goodbye note, and another stopped to clean her room. Wayne Drash And Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "Back from the brink of suicide, they want to save others," 14 June 2018 Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? ... Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Instagram Influencers Are Driving Luxury Hotels Crazy," 13 June 2018 But there's nothing like being able to leave for a few days and know the cats aren't going to the bathroom in a box that won't be cleaned until our return. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "How Much Litter Box Do You Really Get for $500?," 23 Jan. 2019 The bill also mandates that schools contact families with outstanding balances and prevents schools from making students with delinquent lunch accounts work off their debt by cleaning the cafeteria. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "How states and crowdfunding are tackling the growing problem of student lunch debt," 27 Dec. 2018 After the kids are done playing, make a game out of cleaning everything up. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "6 Tips For Teen Babysitters That Are Totally Life-Changing," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The exterior is a clean, art deco white—but that’s where the simplicity ends. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "A First Look at the Faena Bazaar, Miami Beach’s New Design Destination," 3 Dec. 2018 This is exemplified by the 2017 clean-up of Freedom Island in the Philippines, which led to an eventual brand audit by Greenpeace Philippines that accused several companies of being responsible for much of the waste on Freedom Island. Tabor Wordelman, Teen Vogue, "How to Fight the Global Plastics Problem," 18 Dec. 2018 Netflix's eight episode series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, premieres New Years Day—just in time for the holiday clean-up. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Watch Marie Kondo Spark Joy On Her New Netflix Show," 12 Dec. 2018 As the holiday season winds down, Christmas clean-up inevitably begins. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "When Should You Take Your Christmas Tree Down? The Answer Will Definitely Surprise You," 24 Dec. 2018 Buy Now: $5.99 for 30 count, target.com Buy Now: $0.75 for 10 count, ulta.com Foreo, LUNA 2 and Mini A facial cleansing brush gives your skin a deeper clean and an anti-aging massage for brighter, firmer skin. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Travel-Size Beauty Products to Pack in Your Carry-On," 10 July 2018 As our water infrastructure system ages, experts say, keeping America's water clean becomes increasingly challenging. Nadia Kounang, CNN, "The Kentucky county where the water smells like diesel," 30 Mar. 2018 Empty your Pringles can and wipe the inside clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. Stephanie Shore Fisher, Good Housekeeping, "How to Turn a Pringles Can Into a Christmas Cookie Container," 29 Nov. 2018 The bob was popularized by the French in the 20th century thanks to a desire for simpler shapes, as well as the Parisian production of the Ballets Russes’s Scheherazade, which showcased the clean-cut style paired with flowing Arabian garb. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "The History of French Girl Hair: From Marie Antoinette’s Pouf to Brigitte Bardot’s Bedhead," 24 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for clean

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clean

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

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More Definitions for clean

clean

adjective

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 \
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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on clean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clean

Spanish Central: Translation of clean

Nglish: Translation of clean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clean for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about clean

Comments on clean

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excited commotion or publicity

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