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 offclean 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 outthey 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 To be really sure that your jewellery is clean, place any pieces made with hard gemstones and solid gold or platinum settings in boiling water, mixed with a bit of bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Caring For Jewellery In The Time Of Constant Handwashing," 25 Mar. 2020 But when people do return, Thompson said, AVANCE wants to assure them that the buildings are safe and clean. Sara Cline, ExpressNews.com, "Disinfecting, cleaning business thrives during coronavirus outbreak," 20 Mar. 2020 To avoid overestimating the impact, Burke then rounded the reduction down to 10 ug/m3, and assumed only people living in urban areas would benefit from the cleaner air. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "China's coronavirus lockdown curbs deadly pollution, likely saving the lives of tens of thousands, says researcher," 17 Mar. 2020 Separately, the investigators observed a kitchen employee use the same gloves to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher and then stack clean dishes. Author: Mary Hudetz, Anchorage Daily News, "Seattle-area nursing home becomes national epicenter of coronavirus," 4 Mar. 2020 Separately, the investigators observed a kitchen employee use the same gloves to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher and then stack clean dishes. oregonlive, "As coronavirus spreads in Northwest, an inside look at what happened at Life Care nursing home, a national epicenter with 5 patient deaths," 3 Mar. 2020 The Energy Impact Center founder believes nuclear is the near future in cleaner energy. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Coming Soon: Open-Source Blueprints for a Tiny Nuclear Reactor," 3 Mar. 2020 Wendover Brown and her son founded the boutique Vogmask almost 10 years ago in San Francisco in an effort to create a stylish garment that would help people breathe cleaner air. NBC News, "Face masks enter mainstream amid coronavirus worries," 1 Mar. 2020 Employee touched mouth then put away clean dishes without removing gloves and washing hands. azcentral, "Limes handled with bare hands among violations found in Phoenix-area restaurant inspections," 26 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Another example of keeping schools clean comes from the Hamilton School District in Sussex. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's how Milwaukee-area school districts are preparing for a possible coronavirus outbreak," 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, "In this account of the Kavanaugh hearings, no heroes or villains — just humans," 14 Sep. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The stores have been extremely busy and forced to close earlier to give workers more time to clean and restock as products fly off the shelves. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee-area grocery stores install plastic shields at checkouts to protect workers, customers," 27 Mar. 2020 Food 4 Less: Parent company Kroger is limiting Food 4 Less store hours to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. to give employees more time to clean and restock stores. oregonlive, "Costco, WinCo Foods cut store hours, as more Portland-area grocery stores adapt to coronavirus crisis," 27 Mar. 2020 Don't forget to clean and disinfect your laundry basket. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, March 27," 27 Mar. 2020 Be sure to clean and disinfect laundry hampers, too. Sanam Yar, New York Times, "How You Can Make Your Home Safer," 27 Mar. 2020 Popescu also said the guidelines fail to account for other hospital staff, such as security guards and cleaning crews. ProPublica, "This VA Hospital Cited “Misleading” Data to Restrict Mask Use for Health Care Workers," 27 Mar. 2020 The stores have been extremely busy and forced to close earlier to give workers more time to clean and restock as products fly off the shelves. Rodrique Ngowi, Houston Chronicle, "What's in store: Groceries installing barriers amid outbreak," 26 Mar. 2020 Forte is a consumer products and testing expert who oversees testing, research and print and digital editorial content involving cleaning appliances, products and advice. The Washington Post, "Q&A: Carolyn Forte of the Good Housekeeping Institute on taking care of hardworking appliances during the coronavirus pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated. Time, "Arizona Man Dies After Taking Chemical in Coronavirus Treatment Touted by President Trump," 23 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After striking out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning Friday night vs. Gonzaga, the South Alabama clean-up hitter delivered an RBI single in the eighth to break a scoreless tie and spark a 2-0 victory at Stanky Field. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "South Alabama edges Gonzaga in series-opener, 2-0," 29 Feb. 2020 The clean-up process has been ongoing for more than a decade. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "McClymonds high school in Oakland will stay shut another week as air testing continues," 26 Feb. 2020 Other people have donated money to help with the clean-up efforts. Fox News, "Ancient Stonehenge-style stone defaced with 'alien' graffiti," 9 Jan. 2020 Lucas Hillier, who runs the clean-up system, told City Council on Wednesday that the changes were added after significant feedback during the last five years since the program started. oregonlive, "Portland to resume homeless camp clean-ups after divided City Council votes unanimously," 8 Jan. 2020 To make the clean-up process easier, these ancients relied on a convenience familiar to many of us today: disposable cups. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "For Easy Clean-Up After Parties, Minoans Used Disposable Cups," 20 Dec. 2019 An environmental clean-up company was called in to vacuum up visible foam from the property and along West Queen Street and was working Tuesday to clean up inside the building, Rozek said. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Clean-up, investigation of Southington PFAS chemical spill continuing," 10 Dec. 2019 The city has also, during McGrady’s tenure, established Keep Aberdeen Beautiful community clean-up events, which happen on a quarterly basis, and started the Aberdeen Farmers’ Market in Festival Park. David Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady faces challenge from Councilman Melvin Taylor in re-election bid," 30 Oct. 2019 And then there are other rescues to be had and the clean-up period and Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is instrumental in discovering a real crisis in a building that’s not calling for help. Tim Stack, EW.com, "9-1-1 shot in the same water tanks as Titanic for its season 3 tsunami," 22 Sep. 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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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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for clean

clean

adjective
How to pronounce clean (audio)

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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Comments on clean

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