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 presentation of the stories and the article page design was clean and easy to read. Dallas News, "Student journalists win 30th annual Dallas Morning News awards for pandemic, social justice reporting," 4 May 2021 Tap into the season’s mood while staying true to clean and minimal style with these 13 subtle and very wearable, minimalist prints. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "The Minimalist’s Guide to Maximizing Prints," 30 Apr. 2021 Winning the regional title, Berdeal qualified for state with a 205-pound bench press and 180-pound clean-and-jerk, totaling 385-pounds. Brett Shweky, sun-sentinel.com, "Seminole Ridge’s Gonzalez takes home gold at weightlifting state championships," 26 Apr. 2021 Keep basements clean and items stored away from boilers. BostonGlobe.com, "Saving an icon and ourselves," 25 Apr. 2021 Mondale, who died April 19, wielded his influence in office and afterward to keep the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and the nation's waterways clean and pristine for future generations to enjoy. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, "Timely leadership by Tina Smith on BWCA," 25 Apr. 2021 Wow Color Security Shampoo is gentle and leaves the hair clean and product free while protecting the hair & color for long lasting results. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "The Coolest Rainbow Hair Color Ideas To Try This Summer," 7 May 2021 The store accepts clean and salable clothing, glassware, kitchenware, furniture, books, knick-knacks, tools, lamps, pictures and miscellaneous items from non-smoking homes. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Volunteers are heading back into Medina’s Life’s Treasures thrift shop," 7 May 2021 Once hot, clean and lightly oil grates with canola oil. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Eggplant Burgers with Yogurt-Feta Sauce and Quick Pickled Cucumbers," 7 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, "Disney Wish, the new ship from Disney Cruise Line, has 'Star Wars,' 'Frozen,' superheroes and more," 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, "Solar panels on California’s canals could save water and help fight climate change," 22 Apr. 2021 The action cycles smoothly, and the gun has a clean-breaking, fully adjustable trigger. Michael Dickerson, Outdoor Life, "10 Great Mid-Priced Bolt-Action Hunting Rifles," 8 Dec. 2020 The clean-burning coconut wax is housed in exquisite glass vessels. Christina Vercelletto, CNN Underscored, "30 amazing Advent calendars that make December so much merrier," 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, "Mississippi raids split families and leave children adrift: ‘I just want my mom and dad’," 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 Reasons Pumpkin Pie is the Best Dessert," 3 Apr. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The store, located at 5303 Bowen Drive, closed Tuesday at 2 p.m. to allow third-party cleaning crews time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building. Brook Endale, The Enquirer, "Walmart Supercenter in Mason temporarily closed, will reopen Thursday," 11 May 2021 The first weekday after a season finale traditionally is a time for players to clean out their gear from their lockers and gather for a team picture. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Jeff Blashill Watch: Steve Yzerman keeps mum on Detroit Red Wings coaching job," 11 May 2021 The stainless steel interior is resistant to rust, easy to clean and BPA-free, ensuring harmful chemicals and material won't seep into the liquid. Nicola Fumo, Forbes, "49 Unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For All The Special Moms In Your Life," 7 May 2021 Industry groups claim the requirements would stifle job growth and would not clean the air, and that the rule amounts to a tax and is beyond the legal authority of the air quality agency. Los Angeles Times, "Southern California warehouse boom a huge source of pollution. Regulators are fighting back," 5 May 2021 Be sure to clean and rinse out any bottles and containers before tossing them in the bin. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What to know about recycling in Milwaukee, including how to dispose of electronics, plastic bags and batteries," 5 May 2021 The best dry cleaners clean many items by hand and use different solvents and machinery for different fabrics; most dry cleaners use only one cleaning solvent, which may or may not be the best for your particular garment. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "How to Care for Vintage and Delicate Garments," 3 May 2021 In May 2020, Cuomo ordered the state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the largest mass-transit network in the U.S., to stop its subways for four overnight hours every day to clean and disinfect trains and stations. Michelle Kaske, Fortune, "MTA to restore 24-hour subway service as New York City prepares to fully reopen," 3 May 2021 Make sure to clean and dust the surface before placing it down, as that will give you the optimal performance. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Painter’s Tape," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yard clean-up may be a frequent and continuous chore. Felicity Warner, USA TODAY, "5 tips for cleaning up the aftermath of Brood X," 27 Apr. 2021 Sea trials will take place in Europe before heading to southeast Asia in 2025 to begin the first clean-up. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, "Boat of the Week: This 185-Foot Sea-Cleaning Sailboat Collects up to 3 Tons of Ocean Garbage per Hour," 23 Apr. 2021 The unique community clean-up was actually supposed to take place last spring; however, it was cancelled due to the pandemic. John Benson, cleveland, "Inaugural Parma Brew & Trash Crawl scheduled for April 24," 23 Apr. 2021 Hornsey says they're used for community projects, disaster relief and cleanups – including the upcoming Earth Day bike lane clean-up in north Houston. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "Houston ToolBank gives nonprofits the literal tools to succeed," 20 Apr. 2021 To sign-up for the annual clean-up, contact Andrea Hall at ahall@burrillville.org or call 401-710-4214. BostonGlobe.com, "Rhode Island celebrates the ‘Blue Planet’ with Earth Day activities," 16 Apr. 2021 Defending Your Life excels in its refusal to make the divide between good and evil a clean-cut one, avoiding punishing its characters for simply being human. Rachel Simon, Vulture, "30 Years Later, Defending Your Life Is Still the Best Movie About the Afterlife," 24 Mar. 2021 Lubrication keeps the pores of the stone clean, reduces heat from friction, and preserves the life of the stone. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "Three Keys to Using a Sharpening Stone," 28 Aug. 2019 Goblet Clean Start with a goblet clean, a two-handed move that consists of lifting a kettlebell from the floor to chest height in one swift motion, and then open up outwards into a sumo squat series. Precious Lee, Vogue, "Precious Lee Breaks Down Her Strength-Boosting Kettlebell Workout Routine," 15 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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 16 May. 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

Comments on clean

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