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 More advice about the coronavirus How to realistically practice social distancing The smart way to stock a pantry How to clean your phone Your nose itches. Tim Herrera, New York Times, "Suffering Through Your First Financial Crisis? Read This to Relax," 15 Mar. 2020 As has been extremely well publicized in recent days, the CDC recommends cleaning your hands often, which includes washing them for 20 seconds. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Elon Musk Downplays COVID-19 Danger in Email to Space-X Employees," 14 Mar. 2020 An essential part of any beauty routine is taking proper care of your tools, which raises the question: How best to clean your as reaches an all-time high? Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Like a Pro," 13 Mar. 2020 Moreover, routine bathroom cleaning efficiently eliminated the infectious threat, the authors of the JAMA article concluded. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus [Updated 3/10]," 10 Mar. 2020 There are plenty of ways, from cleaning to sharing life stories, to create and maintain fun activities for your kids that will encourage positive habits for their futures. Emy Rodriguez Flores, Redbook, "How To Help Your Kids With School Work, Personal Skills and More," 6 Mar. 2020 Toevs said, which means learning how to clean correctly won’t just protect you against possible exposure to COVID-19. oregonlive, "How to effectively clean your home or business to help stop coronavirus," 1 Mar. 2020 Here are tips for food safety and how to clean various types of bags. Julie Washington, cleveland, "What are the best ways to keep reusable bags germ-free? Health Matters," 9 Feb. 2020 Here’s how to clean brass—even terribly neglected brass—in just a few minutes. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Clean Tarnished Brass," 20 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The country is set to become the first Arab state to achieve nuclear energy and will join 30 other countries in using the clean, although controversial, form of energy. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "First nuclear reactor in Arab nation cleared to begin operation," 17 Feb. 2020 Notices about a clean-up must be posted at least two days before the work begins. USA TODAY, "Gray whale tows calf, wolves on the move, John Dillinger won’t be exhumed; News from around our 50 states," 11 Jan. 2020 The tangible effect of Abbott's clean-up is still unclear, as the city can't keep people from returning to the camps once the clean-up is complete. Jordan Ray, Houston Chronicle, "Homeless camp cleanups underway in Texas, per Gov. Greg Abbott's orders," 6 Nov. 2019 These stuffed peppers are a snap to prepare, and with no browning of meat required the clean-up is a breeze too! Stephanie Thurrott, NBC News, "6 quick and easy meatless recipes even carnivores will love," 26 Oct. 2019 The boxes are then revealed to be inside a life-sized statue of a man, which then transforms into the titular striver, a clean-cut young man and aspiring student body president named Payton Hobart (Ben Platt). Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "Ryan Murphy's The Politician struggles to stay on message," 23 Sep. 2019 For underwear, fill the tub with warm water and start by soaking them for 30 minutes for a deeper clean, occasionally moving them around so the detergent can work even better. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "How to Hand Wash Clothes," 7 Feb. 2020 Elmer Lowe was hired as a clean-up worker and is part of an ongoing lawsuit against the company that hired him. CBS News, "Toxic coal ash is making its way to Florida from Puerto Rico. Experts warn of its adverse health effects," 7 Feb. 2020 And at the end of each day, a maid service cleans and straightens every playhouse. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "Why Andalusia is the ultimate Christmas town," 11 Dec. 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 30 Mar. 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

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

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