clean·​up | \ ˈklēn-ˌəp How to pronounce cleanup (audio) \

Definition of cleanup

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an act or instance of cleaning The children helped with the cleanup.
2 : an exceptionally large profit made a cleanup [=killing] when he sold his stocks



Definition of cleanup (Entry 2 of 3)

: being in the fourth position in the batting order of a baseball team a cleanup hitter

clean up

cleaned up; cleaning up; cleans up

Definition of clean up (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a spectacular profit in a business enterprise or a killing in speculation or gambling
2 : to become free of drug or alcohol addiction I always cleaned up for tours. … By the end of the tour, I'm perfectly clean and should have stayed sober.— Keith Richards

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Other Words from cleanup


cleanup adverb

Examples of cleanup in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The tainted soil was moved to the cleanup site at the Fukushima Dai-Ni nuclear plant. Aya Takada And Stephen Stapczynski / Bloomberg, Time, "Radiation Hot Spots Found Near Japan's Olympic Torch Relay Site," 4 Dec. 2019 Several justices seemed troubled by the idea that property owners whose land has been contaminated could undertake cleanup without EPA approval. Washington Post, "Court seems ready to curb claims over Montana Superfund site," 3 Dec. 2019 Work resumed in portions of the building as cleanup continues, Crowley said. Cameron Knight,, "Work resumed Tuesday at Downtown Cincinnati building collapse site," 3 Dec. 2019 Detectives searched the house and found evidence of bloodstains and an attempted cleanup at the house, according to the charging document. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Man charged in deaths of wife, daughter found in burning SUV in East Anchorage," 3 Dec. 2019 The Utah Highway Patrol said the double-trailer rig overturned on northbound Interstate 15 in Lehi and that the freeway was closed in both directions as a precaution pending cleanup. USA TODAY, "Rosa Parks statue, newborn polar bear cub, quake rocks Oregon: News from around our 50 states," 2 Dec. 2019 A decade ago, plastic bags made up about 10% of the items the Ocean Conservancy picked up during its annual coastal cleanup day. Dustin Gardiner,, "California banned plastic bags. So why do stores keep using them?," 1 Dec. 2019 More importantly, allowing such suits to go forward will wreak havoc on the national toxic waste cleanup scheme. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "ARCO is taking a fight over toxic-waste cleanup to the US Supreme Court," 30 Nov. 2019 In the first year of the program, there were 60 encampments cleanups. Sara Cline,, "‘The worst it’s been’ — clearing San Antonio homeless encampments no easy task," 29 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The idea came from Sue Klein of Western Springs, who organizes an annual cleanup day in local parks. Diane Dachota,, "Pumpkin smash adds hammering fun to Western Springs’ green initiatives," 4 Nov. 2019 The group is involved with dozens of schools in the watershed and hosts cleanup projects and other programs that the public is welcome to attend, McCormick said. Omar Abdel-baqui, Detroit Free Press, "50 years after Rouge River fire, Donald Trump policy may jeopardize decades of progress," 7 Oct. 2019 Huffman, who initially left the company in 2009, returned in 2015 after then-Chief Executive Ellen Pao garnered a fierce backlash for what was seen by Redditors as a heavy-handed cleanup attempt. Hannah Murphy, Los Angeles Times, "Reddit, where chaos thrives, tries to clean up to attract ads from big brands," 5 Oct. 2019 To avoid such a scenario, GAO recommended officials adjust the amount of bonds companies must post before drilling to better reflect possible cleanup costs. Matthew Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Report: Cleanup of abandoned oil, gas wells could cost US," 18 Sep. 2019 Even with cleanup crews still sifting through soot and ash on nearly every corner of the town, anyone able and with a link to Paradise seemingly made a point of descending on the stadium Friday night. Rusty Simmons,, "Paradise comes home as high school football team takes the field for first time in 9 months," 23 Aug. 2019 For other cleanup locations and to register, visit San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Newcomers’ visit Pendleton’s Mechanized Museum....'Take a Swing for Seniors’ raises $180K," 5 Sep. 2019 The department provides cleanup supplies, including trash bags, gloves and safety vests. USA TODAY, "Record grapefruit, light rail win, Snake Road: News from around our 50 states," 29 Aug. 2019 Those orange trash bags ubiquitous in early May, during citywide cleanup efforts? Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "News of BP’s departure sends shock waves through Alaska nonprofit world," 28 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cleanup.' 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 cleanup


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1912, in the meaning defined above


1920, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cleanup


see clean entry 1

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Time Traveler for cleanup

Time Traveler

The first known use of cleanup was in 1872

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Statistics for cleanup

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cleanup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for cleanup


How to pronounce clean up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cleanup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the process of cleaning something



English Language Learners Definition of cleanup (Entry 2 of 2)

: fourth in the batting order of a baseball team

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Comments on cleanup

What made you want to look up cleanup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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