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

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 proposals would bring Arizona's clean-energy requirements more in line with its neighbors. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona regulators may impose big boost in energy requirements — 100% clean energy by 2050," 31 July 2020 Proponents of the project say Mainers for Local Power is an attempt by fossil fuel companies to block clean energy, a threat to their bottom line. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Maine’s most expensive ballot fight ever unites natural gas companies and environmentalists," 30 July 2020 If the mess is adding to your stress, give it a quick clean. Taylyn Washington-harmon, Health.com, "How to Relieve Stress, According to Experts," 1 July 2020 Milwaukee Brat House also hired a cleaning company to deep-clean more often. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee bars can now increase capacity to 50%. Here's how owners and patrons reacted on the first day.," 1 July 2020 Ossai previously held the record at Oak Ridge High School (Conroe, Texas) with a 335-pound power clean. Alex Briseno, Dallas News, "10 things to know about Texas LB Joseph Ossai, including his journey from Nigeria," 30 June 2020 For the deep clean, employees will spray the attractions with a disinfectant fogging apparatus. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Urban Air Trampoline Park reopens under new management, safety protocols," 23 June 2020 Consistent shape and size in coffee grounds simply make for a more clean and even brew. Tony Vaz, Popular Science, "Burr grinders for a better tasting cup of coffee," 19 June 2020 Rental cars were already getting a deep clean before the pandemic, but the process has been taken up a notch. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Travel Will Change," 29 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Educating students on how to wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes and wear and clean a face mask is also encouraged. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "What are the CDC school guidelines Trump wants changed amid COVID-19? These are the highlights.," 9 July 2020 The end of July may be a good time to lower and clean the houses. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "Calvin Finch: Purple martins’ majesty about to wane," 9 July 2020 New safety guidelines include providing supplies to clean the space before and after use, only allowing two people per table, and prohibiting staff from moving furniture and partitions, said a hospital spokeswoman. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus infections spike among San Francisco General Hospital workers," 9 July 2020 Decorated with charming wildlife pattern cutouts and weighing in at 24 pounds, this fire pit features steel walls, a steel mesh guard and an easy-to-clean nonstick enamel cooking grate. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "Kick your outdoor entertaining up a notch with these 13 fire pits," 6 July 2020 Local businesses in the area have also pledged to frequently clean high-touch surfaces and reduce occupancy in common areas, taking the Tuolumne County Healthy Pledge in an effort to assure potential visitors. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "This Gorgeous, Vast Part of California Has the Perfect Combination of Adventuring and Relaxing at a Social Distance," 24 June 2020 Now people had time to go through their homes and clean out unused items and get ready for new ones. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "Transitional Design reopens with great style: Talk of the Towns," 12 June 2020 Professional disinfecting service Enviro-Master has been scheduled to clean the entire space, Knight says. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "This popular Arcadia neighborhood brunch spot has closed temporarily. Here's what we know," 12 June 2020 Ottawa Public Health asked attendees to wash their hands, clean their belongings and put their clothes in the wash, all to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Justin Trudeau takes a knee at Black Lives Matter demonstration on Parliament Hill," 5 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Steny’s plans to close to do a deep clean of the bar and have every staff member tested. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Steny's Tavern closes to clean, test other employees after someone with COVID-19 was at the bar," 2 July 2020 The institution estimates that the keeping the building clean takes up 132 people hours each day and 20 to 25 more team members. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, "Here's when The Children's Museum will reopen to the public and what to know before you go," 30 June 2020 Pockets of infections have been tied to a bar in Ingham County; to out-of-state contractors in Bay County who came to help with clean-up after the flood in Midland, and to farmworkers in Barry, Lapeer and Oceana counties, Sutfin said. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan health officials urge caution as state opens and coronavirus cases rise," 28 June 2020 This little tool sands quickly and sucks debris into a cotton dust bag so there’s minimal clean-up. Popular Science, "Essential power tools every DIYer should own," 19 June 2020 Fields’ neighborhood council has organized a South Los Angeles-specific Black History Month celebration, a park clean-up, a City Council candidate forum and a fire safety day, among other events. Los Angeles Times, "How to be civically or politically active during a pandemic," 5 June 2020 There's more concern about how professional a clean is today more than ever and making sure it's well documented. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "Why Travelers Are Turning to Vacation Home Rentals for a Safe Getaway This Summer," 5 June 2020 Schools across the nation are planning deep cleans as students stagger schedules to return to instruction. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Many businesses promise to 'deep clean' offices before reopening. But what does that mean?," 3 June 2020 And almost as old as the pants themselves are conflicting theories about how to keep the hardworking denim clean without fading it or wearing it out prematurely. Nicole Clausing, Sunset Magazine, "The 411 on Your 501s—How to Keep Your Jeans Clean," 23 Mar. 2020

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

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 6 Aug. 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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