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

The place is clean and orderly, tables and chairs all match, but otherwise unremarkable. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Theo’s Kitchen: ’80s-era Orlando favorite gets ’em to the Greek," 4 July 2019 And representatives from East Bay Community Energy will discuss their initiatives and recent contracts for new clean energy facilities. SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area political events: Native Americans, Laborfest," 3 July 2019 Heat the grill to medium-high heat on one side, and clean and oil grill grates. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Grill a whole side of fish for maximum wow factor," 3 July 2019 Employee cracked raw egg then touched a clean plate without washing hands between actions. Ebony Day, azcentral, "Rusty hooks used to hang ducks among violations found in restaurant inspections," 3 July 2019 Running a chopstick along the spine, the fish separated into clean halves for easy access to meat that accentuated the mackerel’s deep, oily flavor with citrus, salt and sour notes. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Kuriya @ Cherrity Bar delivers Japanese ramen with San Antonio charm," 3 July 2019 The commission will hold public hearings and take comments on regulations covering several different areas — public health, well structure, abandoned wells, reducing emissions from oil and gas wells, bonds to ensure clean-up of sites. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s writing of new oil, gas rules off to a rocky start," 3 July 2019 Meanwhile, add 2 packages of sliced Midamar Halal Beef Summer Sausages and 2 pouches of Brushy Creek Chili No Beans into a small, clean plastic bag. Emma Schwartz, Bon Appétit, "How a Prison Cooking Show Connects Residents to Life Outside," 2 July 2019 Companies that produce clean fuels can earn credits. Anne C. Mulkern, Scientific American, "California Mandates Zero-Emission Vehicles at Airports," 1 July 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

But a review of the operations of the Clint station, near El Paso’s eastern edge, shows that the agency’s leadership knew for months that some children had no beds to sleep on, no way to clean themselves, and sometimes went hungry. BostonGlobe.com, "Dirty, hungry, scared, and sick: inside Clint’s razor wire," 6 July 2019 Many migrants were given only wet wipes to clean themselves and bologna sandwiches to eat, causing constipation and other health problems, according to the report. Zolan Kanno-youngs, New York Times, "Government Watchdog Finds Squalid Conditions in Border Centers," 2 July 2019 Some were being given wet wipes to clean themselves. Nomaan Merchant, The Denver Post, "Government photos show detained migrants pleading for help," 2 July 2019 If installed backwards, the filter will block the flow of air, instead of cleaning it. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "A Breath of Fresh Air: A Smart Buyer's Guide to Air Filters," 1 July 2019 As 300,000 people file out of the speedway, Boles begins an undertaking nearly as big as providing all of the goods and concessions for the race: cleaning it all up. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "Doug Boles' race is just beginning when the Indy 500 ends," 1 July 2019 Several minutes after their first interaction, Queenie preened away from the two boys, who found a shallow place to clean themselves off. Ryan Gillespie, orlandosentinel.com, "Will Queenie find love? Two new black-necked swans released into Lake Eola, where the solitary female awaited," 25 June 2019 And no, there's no such thing as cleaning it too much. Glamour, "How to Clean Your Engagement Ring at Home (and What Not to Do)," 21 June 2019 Both Fotis Dulos and Troconis have been charged in connection to Jennifer Dulos' disappearance after evidence of blood and attempts to clean it up were found in her house and then littered around town. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Connecticut cops face new deadline as they try to crack case of missing mom Jennifer Dulos," 9 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Why not pay at least $110 million over 25 years to help keep the public facility clean and safe? John King, SFChronicle.com, "Goodbye, San Francisco. Hello, Brandopolis," 30 June 2019 From there, a clean-up plan is developed, and work begins. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Toxic waste, explained," 26 June 2019 Eliminate food sources inside — clean spilled food and water; don’t leave pet food in or outside the house. Betty Cahill, The Denver Post, "How to get rid of ants in your yard and garden," 14 June 2019 The company delivers, removes and deep cleans items between uses. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, "They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It.," 8 June 2019 Take a clean eyedropper filled with baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin, or hydrogen peroxide, and put a few drops into your ear canal. Korin Miller, SELF, "What to Do If You Have an Earwax Blockage," 29 Jan. 2019 To add insult to injury, the clean-up of that land is in excess of $2,000 per acre in some areas. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: 3 Million Acres of Florida Timber Rotting Away 8 Months After Hurricane Michael," 20 June 2019 The crash also damaged the concrete wall, and that was complicating the clean-up. Rick Hurd, The Mercury News, "Bay Bridge traffic alert: Two lanes closed after rollover crash.," 18 June 2019 There will be a large investment in education, roads and environmental clean-up as a result of bills passed in the legislative session. Sara Ervin Walser, baltimoresun.com, "CRP techniques can save a life," 14 June 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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Statistics for clean

Last Updated

7 Jul 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

Comments on clean

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