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

For some, the color says clean, sleek, and modern, while others merely see blank and boring. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate the Simplicity of White," 1 May 2019 Bake until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spring Animal Cupcakes," 7 Mar. 2019 To avoid these infections, keep your belly button clean! Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Belly Button Infections You Can Get (and What to Do If You Have One)," 23 Feb. 2019 In an exhibition match in San Francisco on Saturday, OpenAI claimed victory with a clean sweep. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "An AI Beat the Top Humans at a Modern Video Game Thanks to the Power of Teamwork," 16 Apr. 2019 Top Shop: Shen Beauty For a leisurely afternoon of perusing and pampering, visit clean-beauty boutique Shen. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "Your Beauty Guide to Brooklyn," 16 Apr. 2019 Their friendly mom demeanor and squeaky clean looks—both Doyle and Wambach are bottle blondes who eagerly show me their roots—tend to belie their sometimes radical messaging. Jocelyn Silver, WSJ, "At a Critical Time for U.S. Soccer, Abby Wambach Is on a Mission," 15 Apr. 2019 Advertising José Rondón had Chicago’s only hit, a clean single in the third inning. Jake Seiner, The Seattle Times, "Sabathia cruises in return from angioplasty, Yanks 1-hit CHW," 13 Apr. 2019 For commercial users—which is the primary focus of the Reverb—HP will sell the Reverb Professional Edition, whose leather-style face cushion can be wiped clean with an alcohol swab. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "HP's high-res Reverb VR headset blows the screen door effect off its hinges," 19 Mar. 2019

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

The cleaning pro will wash interior windows, clean shower tracks, and even scour the inside of mom's fridge, oven, and cabinets for an additional fee. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "Amazon's Most Popular Last-Minute Mother's Day Gift Is on Sale Today," 10 May 2019 In a separate large bowl, using the electric mixer (no need to clean the beaters), beat the cream of coconut and the remaining cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Frozen S'mores," 14 Mar. 2019 Available accessories include a quilted liner, access ramp, carrier, spill-resistant bowl, and portable rinse system, which is designed to help clean a dog who's gotten muddy. Leah Melby Clinton, Town & Country, "This Luxury Auto Brand Is Making Traveling with Your Dogs Easier," 24 Aug. 2018 The dealer had never heard of a painting being cleaned without its owner’s permission. Town & Country, "Mary Boone Is Taking a Break," 18 Apr. 2019 With the pendant's many curves and ridges, cleaning off a bit of tarnish is more difficult than preventing it in the first place. Alyssa Haak, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: My Vintage Kale Necklace," 17 Apr. 2019 Not cleaning your scalp properly can clog or block your hair follicles and potentially even lead to hair loss, adds Edward Tricomi, co-founder of Warren Tricomi Salons. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Hair," 12 Apr. 2019 Eggshell is a great option for walls in medium- to low-traffic areas, and can be easily cleaned. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Choosing the Right Paint Finish: Eggshell Vs. Satin," 25 Feb. 2019 Then the specialist will prep the area, cleaning the brows and applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly around them to prevent any accidental skin staining. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is Eyebrow Tinting, Anyway?," 1 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Or sweep a yard clean, moving downhill blasting out flower beds, corners, and working down steps and around or through every obstacle. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "We Test the Very Best Leaf Blowers You Can Buy," 5 Nov. 2018 Set up a comfortable place to study Your child should have a clean, well lit, comfortable space for homework. Mary Caldwell, ajc, "6 tips to help get your kid in back-to-school mode," 12 July 2018 The inserts are periodically shipped off for deep cleans, and are discarded when the fabric is soiled, worn or faded, Sotero said. Laura J. Nelson, latimes.com, "Goodbye, upholstery. Hello, vinyl: L.A. Metro is phasing out some of its infamous fabric seats," 10 July 2018 Ramblers Way wool is created to be worn year-round and is crafted to produce a clean, smooth and tightly knit yarn that's free of the usual fiber ends that cause you to itch. Debbie Carlson, chicagotribune.com, "'Grown and sewn in the U.S.': It’s getting easier to buy completely American-made clothing and home goods," 25 June 2018 These students, who have made this very brave commitment to make aliyah on their own, need a clean, safe and comfortable place to live and study. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Artwork auctioned at event honoring Israel's 70th anniversary," 21 June 2018 This means only using fabric softener prevents you from getting a heavy-duty clean, regardless of how good your clothes smell afterward. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "PSA: This Is the Real Difference Between Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener," 4 June 2018 And, if at all possible, a clean, dry silver julep cup. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, "A mint julep recipe for a slow, hot summer day from Chris McMillian," 30 May 2018 For a deeper clean, turn it over and rotate the ball-cover ring counter clockwise to get the ball out. Paul Sarconi, WIRED, "How to Clean Your Computer Inside and Out," 24 Apr. 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

12 May 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

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