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 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 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

Many of the models also walked with just clean flawless skin and glossy lips, reminding us that even the simplest looking looks take time and detailed attention. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Keke Palmer Walked Her First NYFW Runway In Cornrows And Red Lips," 11 Sep. 2019 The new chemistry lab includes a transparent glass wall that provides a clean, modern learning and collaboration environment. Carol Kovach, cleveland.com, "Stomp, Tri-C’s new teal triceratops mascot, visits Western Campus: Sun Postings," 10 Sep. 2019 Most require little of us other than a pen, our smartphone contacts and time — time that’s usually found somewhere between pouring milk into cereal bowls and making sure everyone has (somewhat clean) socks. Stacey Steinberg, Washington Post, "The online privacy checklist your kids need you to have," 9 Sep. 2019 There's just no clean, satisfying way to do so, and therefore no perfect fashion to consider every player on his own merits. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020: Inside the Process," 9 Sep. 2019 Menstruators needed to be able to throw products in a bag and keep them clean, to carry them from desk to restroom, and then from restroom stall to waste container. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "How tampons and pads became so unsustainable," 6 Sep. 2019 Bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Tara Bench, Country Living, "Towering Haunted House Cake," 6 Sep. 2019 Alpha Brain, Gorilla Mind Smooth, Brain Force Plus, Dawn to Dusk—are displayed in clean, futuristic fonts. Richard Cooke, The New Republic, "The conservative commentariat’s love affair with nootropics," 3 Sep. 2019 The clean sheet didn’t reflect a lack of challenge for the Orlando defense. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City," 17 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota, volunteers cleaned headstones and markers and helped take care of the cemetery grounds. Jean Pieri, Twin Cities, "A day of service and a Flight 93 hero’s family commemorate 9/11 at Fort Snelling," 11 Sep. 2019 The montage shows Mongeau cleaning her apartment alone, eating food on the floor in her pajamas and crying while drinking a glass of wine. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Tana Mongeau Shares Emotional Video After Billie Eilish Unfollows Her on Instagram," 10 Sep. 2019 Just spritz some cleaning fluid on the large wiping pad, then adhere the anchor pod on one corner of your window and attach the Winbot nearby. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "The Hottest New Robot Cleaner Is for Your Windows, Not Your Floors," 10 Sep. 2019 The mayor refused to pay and the city began the arduous job of cleaning its systems, restoring its files and getting services back online. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore IT director who was at helm during ransomware attack and city’s recovery is on leave," 10 Sep. 2019 Her mother was not the type to go through her children’s rooms often, or to clean for them, so school had started by the time her mother noticed the stone. Louise Erdrich, The New Yorker, "The Stone," 2 Sep. 2019 Alonso reportedly cleaned out his locker Friday after returning from Miami’s final preseason game at New Orleans Thursday. oregonlive, "Miami Dolphins trade former Oregon Duck Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints: Report," 1 Sep. 2019 His next step is getting the flag professionally dry-cleaned and finding the perfect place to put it in his home, according to the Enterprise. Fox News, "Man courageously recovers American flag from busy highway: 'it represents the freedom'," 25 Aug. 2019 In the morning, his wife, Norma, cleans the area around his catheter, applies a gauze bandage and tapes an 18-inch extender attached to the catheter to his chest. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive.com, "Donald Trump wants more kidney patients on home dialysis; here’s the reality of what it’s like," 25 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Camuy Caves are closed while still undergoing post-hurricane clean-up, though good alternatives for spelunking travelers are Cueva Ventana and Cueva del Indio, all close by. Kathleen Squires, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Expect Traveling in Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico," 20 Aug. 2019 Dianna Shaffer and Melody Ghormley went to St. Francis June 27 to prepare for a parish clean-up scheduled for the next day. oregonlive.com, "Reverence and resistance in one of Portland’s oldest Catholic churches," 11 Aug. 2019 Plus, the slim design allows the 11S to fit under more nooks and crannies for a better clean, which means less work for you. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 5 best early Prime Day deals you can get this Friday," 12 July 2019 The package comes with three brush heads to choose from: a bristle brush for a daily deep clean, a silicone brush for exfoliation and texture improvement, and a charcoal brush for brightening. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Proactiv Partners With Hello Kitty for the Purrfect Skin-Care Collaboration," 24 July 2018 The district is the product of a multi-billion taxpayer funded clean-up of Boston Harbor. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "The FBI Is Still So White: raceAhead," 24 July 2019 As The Conversation reported, cigarette butts comprise 30 to 40 percent of all litter found in coastal and urban litter clean-ups since the 1980s. Vanna Quiroz, CBS News, "Experts say cigarette butts — not plastic straws — are largest human-caused pollutant," 20 July 2019 Undoubtedly, the programme resulted in significant macroeconomic gains with rising growth, single digit inflation, fiscal consolidation and banking sector clean-up. Priscilla Twumasi-baffour, Quartz Africa, "Many Ghanaians think their country should divorce the IMF—that isn’t likely to happen," 8 July 2019 Hazardous waste clean-up is a multi-step process, which starts with site visits and reviews to determine if the area threatens human health or the environment. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Toxic waste, explained," 26 June 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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Statistics for clean

Last Updated

15 Sep 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 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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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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