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 CopenHill, a waste-to-energy power plant burning 70 tons of waste per hour, produces clean energy for 60,000 families, while heating 120,000 homes. Melissa Findley, National Geographic, "Destinations on the rise for 2021," 20 Nov. 2020 Elliot Mainzer will help determine whether the Golden State succeeds in leading the rest of the country toward 100% clean energy. Sammy Roth Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "The ‘war on coal’ is over. The next climate battle has just begun," 17 Nov. 2020 During the filming process, Scott met with people involved in the fight for clean energy, including farmers, coal workers, the Navajo Nation, religious leaders, and politicians. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "Jonathan Scott Opens Up About What Inspired His New Documentary," 17 Nov. 2020 Biden proposed a series of measures to spur manufacturing, develop clean energy and support caregivers. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "'Dark winter': Biden says lack of coordination with White House on COVID-19 is biggest hurdle to transition," 16 Nov. 2020 Biden’s economic plan includes $2 trillion in spending on clean energy and infrastructure. Jordan Fabian, Bloomberg.com, "Biden Says Containing Pandemic Is Vital to Economic Recovery," 16 Nov. 2020 By putting a price on carbon, consumers will be incentivized to choose clean, low-carbon energy... WSJ, "Tax Carbon and Leave The Rest to the Markets," 16 Nov. 2020 Phoenix has the most solar installed on municipal property of any American city and has innovative partnerships with local utilities to make clean energy more accessible, including an initiative to reduce costs for public housing residents. Gretchen Whitmer, Fortune, "How cities and states can work with the Biden administration to address America’s biggest challenges," 14 Nov. 2020 Perhaps just as telling, many of the transition officials had a hand in the 2009 stimulus, to date the largest government investment in clean energy and the model for Biden’s climate plan. Jean Chemnick, Scientific American, "Biden Stocks Transition Teams with Climate Experts," 14 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The attachments fell out neatly and were easy to clean both by hand and in the dishwasher. Tanya Edwards, CNN Underscored, "The best hand mixers of 2020," 19 Nov. 2020 Coated with porcelain enamel for even heat distribution and designed to be easy to clean, this charcoal grill was a reviewer favorite for its longevity and great accessories. Madison Durham, USA TODAY, "Now is the best time to shop for grills—here's what to buy," 11 Nov. 2020 This material is great for keeping beverages warm and is thankfully pretty easy to clean. Alicia Chilton, Better Homes & Gardens, "How to Remove Coffee and Tea Stains from Mugs," 6 Nov. 2020 Reviewers say that these infusers were easy to use and just as easy to clean—plus, who wouldn't want a little dinosaur hanging out with them while drinking their tea? Get the Tilevo Tea Infuser Set of Two for $12.95 (Save $7) 5. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Wednesday," 4 Nov. 2020 Dishwasher safe and made with a nonstick design, the cookware is super easy to clean. Popular Science, "Unique pan designs for a creative cooking experience," 28 Oct. 2020 To keep everything together, Jin wraps it in synthetic leather, which is waterproof and easy to clean, along with a big zipper that won’t get caught in the blanket. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, "These thoughtfully designed travel items can take the headache out of jet-setting," 17 Oct. 2020 This bundle has bags in a variety of sizes that last forever, seal well, and stay easy to clean. Adrienne So, Wired, "The 33 Best Home and Outdoors Deals for Prime Day," 14 Oct. 2020 The non-toxic and washable material doesn't have a funky smell and is easy to clean after a day of wear. Susan Brickell, Health.com, "These Face Brackets for Masks Will Make Breathing So Much Easier," 8 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to its more than 500 Macy's reviewers, the nonstick interior makes for easy clean-up. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "This popular Rachael Ray cookware set is a more than $200 off for Black Friday 2020," 19 Nov. 2020 Reserve your spot for a memorable brunch, lunch or dinner—and avoid the kitchen clean-up. Give Back To The Great Outdoors. courant.com, "Community News For The Windham Edition," 13 Nov. 2020 The Newington Parks and Recreation Department announced that the West Meadow Cemetery finished its fall clean-up in order to clear the cemetery in preparation for the winter season. courant.com, "Community News For The Wethersfield Edition," 5 Nov. 2020 Parish officials asked residents to remain patient as debris clean-up continues. Michelle Hunter | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "No injuries reported in River Parishes, but power remains a problem after Hurricane Zeta," 29 Oct. 2020 For the safety of guests and staff, housekeeping does a deep clean of the room before every arrival, and items that can’t be properly cleaned have been removed. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, "I Traveled to Hawaii During the Coronavirus Pandemic — Here's What It Was Like," 28 Oct. 2020 The OverDrive Binary Cams (originally a Bowtech flagship design that’s now available in its budget Diamond line) allowed a quick clean-up of a right tear. Jace Bauserman, Outdoor Life, "Are Flagship Bows Really Worth the Money? We Tested Bowtech’s Revolt and the Diamond Edge 320 to Find Out," 12 Oct. 2020 During the springtime, as the coronavirus pandemic tore across the state, the organization that cares for the park wasn’t able to host its monthly volunteer clean-up. Angela Roberts, baltimoresun.com, "Group of goats used to tame overgrown hill in Baltimore’s Wyman Park Dell," 16 Oct. 2020 The sweeping clean-up and educational program has been credited for tidying up the beaches that were, prior to the program’s inception, littered with beach umbrellas and trash. al, "At Alabama’s beaches, a price paid for sizzling summer tourism: Rude visitors," 12 Sep. 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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 2 Dec. 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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