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

The notion of clean or natural beauty products is ill-defined across the industry, but within the confines of Whole Foods, product quality standards are front and center. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Whole Foods' Annual Beauty Week Event Has Arrived and Every Product Is on Sale," 12 Mar. 2019 Gelcream's photography aesthetic is unmistakable: clean and crisp product shots posed weightlessly in a slender hand. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Instagram Beauty Sensation @Gelcream Shares Her Anti-Aging Secrets," 6 Mar. 2019 The North Face: Put clean apparel or footwear into an in-store collective bin and receive $10 off your purchase of $100 or more. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "9 New Ways to Donate Your Clothes," 27 Feb. 2019 The cel shading is crisp, the lines are as expressive as the original material, and in some ways the overall presentation is cleaner and nicer looking than the anime. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Density means shorter commutes and less driving, leading to less congestion, fewer road fatalities, and improved health outcomes from cleaner air. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?," 11 Dec. 2018 Using a grading scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), our panel members spent a couple of hours in search of the lightest, cleanest and most refreshing beers on a recent warm summer afternoon. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Can craft brewers make good light beer? Our tasting pits them against Bud, Miller, Coors, more," 12 July 2018 Environmentalists and clean-tech supporters such as the Northeast Clean Energy Council say that without a substantial increase, Massachusetts could quickly fall behind other states that have implemented new renewable standards. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Clean energy advocates poised for a win on Beacon Hill," 12 July 2018 Tordini typically opts for more minimal, clean and classic looks, while Ambrosio prefers pieces that are bold and daring. Lindzi Scharf, latimes.com, "Attico designers take inspiration from 'Grey Gardens' as they build on their 'modern vintage' approach," 12 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

Too Zoom in on a microscopic level and going too long without cleaning your bedroom can impact the quality of your ZZZ's as well. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Right Way to Clean Your Bedroom So You Can Sleep Better Than Ever," 14 Mar. 2019 After the light cleans the water, the wick filters the air. Stephanie Shore Fisher, Country Living, "The Honeywell HCM350W Humidifier Is Single-Handedly Helping Me Survive the Winter," 12 Feb. 2019 Additionally, there are plenty of clever tools that'll bring order to pots and pans, cleaning supplies, garbage and recycling bins, and more. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "Just Right," 11 Feb. 2019 Workers cleaning the steps at the U.S. Treasury building in Washington, D.C., last week. Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Strengthen on Soft Overseas Data," 14 Dec. 2018 All County’s ostensible purpose was to be the purchasing agent for Fred Trump’s buildings, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Seriously, we need to see Donald Trump’s tax returns," 3 Oct. 2018 During a search of Kyle Navin’s Bridgeport home, police found a Home Depot receipt for items include large garbage bags, painters tape, bleach, cleaning chemicals and insecticide. David Owens, courant.com, "Kyle Navin Gets 55 Years For Killing His Parents," 29 June 2018 His morning routine included exercises, followed by several hours of beach cleaning with a pair of white gloves and a rake. Matthew Diebel, USA TODAY, "Naked Japanese hermit, 82, removed from his remote island home for health concerns," 26 June 2018 Her path of opportunity started in 2016 with a temporary job cleaning household items damaged in a flooded basement and evolved into an appearance on national television. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "A chance meeting with 'Undercover Boss' changed Indianapolis woman's life," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Same goes for other classic kettlebell moves like the clean, snatch, squat, and carry. Amy Marturana, SELF, "11 Kettlebell Exercises That Strengthen and Stabilize Your Core," 1 Mar. 2019 Its sumptuous blue Art-Deco façade complements the clean, yet comfortable interior design of the rooms. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "Going to the Oscars? The Best L.A. Hotels for Every Hollywood Type," 22 Feb. 2019 The allegation tarnished the clean and reform-minded image of Roh, a former labor activist who has been a symbol for progressives in South Korea. Fox News, "Prominent S. Korea politician found dead in possible suicide," 23 July 2018 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

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 Mar 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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