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.

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 Build Back Better Act contains a historic $555 billion package of tax credits, grants and other policies aimed at reducing emissions and boosting clean energy. Brady Dennis And Maxine Joselow, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Jan. 2022 Partly thanks to a lack of clean-energy legislation (thanks to coal investor Joe Manchin), U.S. coal generation last year surged by 17% and overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose 6.2%. David Meyer, Fortune, 11 Jan. 2022 Several recent studies have found that the United States is likely to fall far short of achieving Mr. Biden’s climate goals without major new policies to speed up the transition to wind, solar and other clean energy. New York Times, 10 Jan. 2022 China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) was designed to potentially be used as a near-limitless supply of clean energy on Earth, the Xinhua News Agency reports. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2022 Despite strides forward in the use of clean energy, Milwaukee and Madison still have work to do to make their operations more efficient, according to a national survey. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6 Jan. 2022 Sochie Nnaemeka, the New York state director of the liberal Working Families Party, praised Hochul’s support for clean energy and the elimination of a tax break for real estate developers. Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2022 Arachne's descendants could power entire cities, providing clean energy without the use of coal or nuclear power. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 5 Jan. 2022 At the virtual summit, the leaders of Japan and Australia will also look at ways to deepen government and business collaboration on clean energy as well as critical materials and technologies, Mr. Morrison said. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb New research and a slew of industry announcements promise clean-burning hydrogen at $1 per kilogram will displace fossil fuels used in industries from steel to shipping. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, 29 Dec. 2021 Without the mess of ash and soot, these clean-burning units require much less upkeep than traditional wood-burning fireplaces, but a bit of gas fireplace maintenance is essential to keep yours in top shape. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Oct. 2021 The steel was produced using HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology), which uses electricity from renewable sources to create the clean-burning gas. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Sep. 2021 The clean-living trend has gained steam in recent years, particularly among celebrities and their followings. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, 14 July 2021 This clean-burning fuel significantly reduces emissions over more traditional marine bunker oil, thereby lessening the ship's environmental footprint. Tim Walters, USA TODAY, 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, 22 Apr. 2021 The action cycles smoothly, and the gun has a clean-breaking, fully adjustable trigger. Michael Dickerson, Outdoor Life, 8 Dec. 2020 The clean-burning coconut wax is housed in exquisite glass vessels. Christina Vercelletto, CNN Underscored, 27 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The powerful suction works on both carpet and hardwood floors, plus the device can transform into a handheld vacuum to clean everything from upholstery to car interiors. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 11 Jan. 2022 Starting a new year is a great time to prioritize a clean-out or re-organize for your closet. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 10 Jan. 2022 There are some obvious potential reasons behind this, like using shampoo that doesn't clean thoroughly enough. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, 10 Jan. 2022 Access to clean needles is important to prevent the spread of H.I.V. and hepatitis C as well as skin and soft tissue infections, Mike Selick, an associate director at the National Harm Reduction Coalition, said on Thursday. New York Times, 8 Jan. 2022 The pandemic has added stress to most jobs, but the work of hotel housekeepers, already an occupation with high injury rates, has become increasingly difficult, with fewer workers facing short deadlines to clean rooms that are filthier than ever. Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times, 8 Jan. 2022 Jodi freaks out and Brad hulks out, ripping the top of the boxes clean off rather than untying them. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, 7 Jan. 2022 Any potential ways to clean N95 or other respirators—an area of research health agencies are still looking into—require specific strategies only available in laboratory or other health care settings. Ashley Abramson, Health.com, 6 Jan. 2022 The versatile kitchen faucet also has a handle to manually control the water pressure and temperature and a 20-inch flexible spray hose to clean large pots and flush out sink corners. Sanah Faroke, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some spots are for cleaning the serving area during the event, some for kitchen clean-up, and some for cleaning after the event. Kaila White, The Arizona Republic, 20 Dec. 2021 Hoover Fire Department and the Jefferson County EMA are on the scene to coordinate clean-up. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 16 Dec. 2021 The southbound lanes of I-65 from mile marker 68 to 64 were expected to be closed again starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday for debris clean-up, CPD said. Mary Ramsey, The Courier-Journal, 9 Dec. 2021 With cooler weather on the horizon for many, there's no time like the present to give your home a deep clean. Tess Garcia, PEOPLE.com, 29 Aug. 2021 Sadler recommends a deep clean of the refrigerator every six months. Washington Post, 26 July 2021 Now this strategy of eliminating the traditional fall clean-up isn’t an easy thing to do. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 13 Nov. 2021 Prosper Portland will pay to remove wharf pilings and for other limited site clean-up, but will not contribute additional funding to the redevelopment. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 10 Nov. 2021 Like many people during quarantine, Katie Couric used her time hunkered down at home to do a major closet clean-out. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, 15 June 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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Dictionary Entries Near clean

cleam

clean

clean and jerk

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Statistics for clean

Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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)

: 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)

: 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

clean

transitive verb

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)

clean

adjective

Legal Definition of clean

: free of amendments or annotations

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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