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

Verb

cleanability \ ˌklē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce clean (audio) \ noun
cleanable \ ˈklē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce clean (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 The defense has been strong all season long coming off of a clean sheet in their last match. Edwin Perez, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2021 Conservationists say clean energy shouldn’t come at the cost of damaging the environment or threatening endangered species. Jim Carlton, WSJ, 4 June 2021 The competition sets all that aside, offering a clean sheet. al, 4 June 2021 Part of our development is to teach that next generation about clean energy. Christopher Marquis, Forbes, 3 June 2021 The unveiling of the Business Alliance for Scaling Climate Solutions comes as energy watchdogs warn that spending on clean energy remains well shy of what's needed to get the world on a net zero pathway. Matt Egan, CNN, 3 June 2021 It’s a clean-sheet design, albeit with recognizable Zenvo DNA. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 1 June 2021 Nashville has kept a clean sheet in four straight matches. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, 28 May 2021 The Timbers’ past two wins against San Jose and LA had one common denominator: a clean sheet. Portland Timbers And Thorns Fc, oregonlive, 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb This clean-burning fuel significantly reduces emissions over more traditional marine bunker oil, thereby lessening the ship's environmental footprint. Tim Walters, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2021 There are times of year when turbines on the Columbia River produce more electricity than needed, and a public utility wants to use that excess power to create a clean-burning fuel for factories, trucks or power plants. Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2021 The action cycles smoothly, and the gun has a clean-breaking, fully adjustable trigger. Michael Dickerson, Outdoor Life, 8 Dec. 2020 The clean-burning coconut wax is housed in exquisite glass vessels. Christina Vercelletto, CNN Underscored, 27 Oct. 2020 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. Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2019 Canned pumpkin means that there’s no need to open, clean, cut, and puree a pumpkin, leaving you more time to concentrate on the other meal courses. The Editors, Field & Stream, 3 Apr. 2020 Another example of keeping schools clean comes from the Hamilton School District in Sussex. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6 Mar. 2020 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, 14 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Line cooks bring dishes out to tables, the head chef runs credit cards, servers help out in the kitchen and Lama jumps in to wash dishes or clean the bathroom. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 June 2021 Emanuelson, 33, used to clean houses but quit when schools shut down last year. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, 2 June 2021 Grill deaths: Before digging into your next cheeseburger, take a look at the type of brush used to clean the grill. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 1 June 2021 Apply it to clean, damp hair and leave it on anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes, depending on how much hydration your strands need. Kara Cuzzone, Forbes, 24 May 2021 Designed to fit smartphones of all sizes, it can also be used to clean other essentials like your keys, credit cards, jewelry, and more. Rebecca Carhart, Travel + Leisure, 16 May 2021 As Californians brace for another epic drought season sparking fires, for example, money could be used to clean tinderbox forests or build dams. Lance Christensen, National Review, 14 May 2021 Alison Detrick used to clean houses in New Orleans. Author: Heather Long, Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2021 Alison Detrick used to clean houses in New Orleans. Washington Post, 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Up next for Big Creek Connects is yet another community clean-up for Big Creek, which Gardin said is an important watershed in Parma and tributary to the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. John Benson, cleveland, 4 June 2021 The Florida Department of Environmental Protection requested an emergency clean-up and contracted Hull’s Environmental Services in Tampa to rehabilitate the area. Tiffini Theisen, orlandosentinel.com, 2 June 2021 One challenge in this endeavor is how to address the excruciatingly slow pace of clean-up for our country’s most contaminated sites. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Don’t worry about washing them For an easier time with clean-up, getting a recyclable set of champagne flutes is a good way to go. Chris Hachey, BGR, 20 May 2021 Meanwhile, the impact of climate change on unpredictable storms has made an efficient clean-up all the more important. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Volunteer activities include window washing, yard maintenance, and outdoor spring clean-up for older adults, the organization said. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, 11 May 2021 Cue spring clean-up, chirping birds, and an errant slush event or two. Star Tribune, 10 Apr. 2021 After two years of clean-up and rebuilding what Hurricane Irma demolished, Scilly Cay is ready once again for visitors. Sandra Macgregor, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021

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

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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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