cleanse

verb
\ˈklenz \
cleansed; cleansing; cleanses

Definition of cleanse 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : clean especially : to rid of impurities by or as if by washing

2 : to expel, imprison, or kill (the members of an ethnic minority) in (an area) : to subject to or remove by ethnic cleansing In 1996, tens of thousands of ethnic Tutsis, most of them of Rwandan origin, were murdered or ethnically cleansed in the Masisi region of eastern Zaire.— David Rieff

intransitive verb

: to engage in or undergo a cleanse to remove toxins from the body Some people who cleanse say they experience dramatic physical changes.— Karen Hube

cleanse

noun

Definition of cleanse (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very restrictive short-term diet primarily intended to remove toxins from the body Under the supervision of her nutritionist … Gillian Anderson has reportedly participated in cleanses that consist of little more than liquids for 10 days.— J. D. Heiman … told me about her 28-day cleanse, which limits the caffeine, sugar, gluten, dairy and red meat in your diet.— Jon Harris

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Synonyms & Antonyms for cleanse

Synonyms: Verb

clean, deterge, GI, turn out

Antonyms: Verb

besmirch, dirty, foul, soil, spot, stain, sully

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Examples of cleanse in a Sentence

Verb

The cut should be cleansed gently with mild soap and water. in an elaborate ritual the priestess cleansed the gathering of supplicants

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In that case, Dr. Smith suggests bringing disinfectant wipes to cleanse the surface first. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Wash Your Hands Immediately After Touching These 8 Things at the Airport," 30 Oct. 2018 Placing amethyst on a mantel, or centrally in a home, allows the crystal to cleanse as much of the space as possible. Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018 Some in France had warned that Bannon’s support could threaten Le Pen’s efforts to cleanse the party of its racist stigma. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "France’s Le Pen distances herself from Bannon’s Movement," 8 Oct. 2018 Check the list below for techniques and inspiration for all of your space cleansing needs. Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018 These lamps are said to generate negative ions, which neutralize toxins, cleansing the air. Rebecca Shinners, Country Living, "The Salt Lamps Everyone Is Obsessed With Are 35% off Today," 17 July 2018 Once the oil rubbing or salt scrubbing part was over, Ms. Ajikrishna instructed me to wash my face and body in an outdoor shower with green mung bean powder, an herbal exfoliant used to cleanse the skin without removing the oil’s benefits. Caren Osten Gerszberg, New York Times, "At a Yoga Retreat in India: Beach Walks, Body Treatments and Healing," 16 Feb. 2018 The temptation to operate on assumptions when facing off against an unknown adversary is real and toxic, so cleanse it from your system. Michael Andor Brodeur, BostonGlobe.com, "5 (pretty easy) steps to improve civility online," 6 July 2018 These organs work together to cleanse your body from head to toe. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Health Matters: Is a "detox diet" good or bad for your health?," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before you do a phone cleanse, open the app and find that account-deletion option. Katherine Bindley, WSJ, "Don’t Be Haunted by Digital Ghosts: Delete Your Old Accounts," 12 Oct. 2018 For the last two weeks, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest have been doing a mysterious new cleanse — with one of them handling it better than the other. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "This Is the Juice Cleanse that Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest Are Doing: 'It's a Restart'," 6 June 2018 One of Coltrane’s earliest biographers, C.O. Simpkins, described the quartet’s shows in these years — with Mr. Jones lighting fires and Mr. Tyner splashing them with multihued harmonies — as a kind of euphoric cleanse. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Lost John Coltrane Recording From 1963 Will Be Released at Last," 7 June 2018 During her trips out West, de Castro—who, only a few months prior, had jumped on the cleanse bandwagon, citing its ability to help her lose weight, clear brain fog, and ease anxiety—noticed L.A.’s lack of juiceries. Colleen Leahey Mckeegan, Marie Claire, "The Business of Feeling Good," 11 July 2018 Reset your digestive system and boost your metabolism with a cleanse from a local juice company, such as The Juicy Cafe. Olivia Hall, The Seattle Times, "Overstressed? 15 wellness trends to help you relax," 3 July 2018 Following a quick cleanse and lymphatic drainage, Elena performs microdermabrasion, which involves the use of crystals to deeply exfoliate and brighten the face. Kate Branch, Vogue, "Why a Cryotherapy Facial Is the Best Way to Brighter, Tighter Skin," 30 June 2018 His lasting contribution to the field was the invention of the apple cider vinegar cleanse, which returned with a vengeance a few years ago, this time powered by models and actresses such as Miranda Kerr, Hilary Duff, and Megan Fox. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "An Unofficial History of Rich Women and Their Diets," 10 Apr. 2018 For serious health food enthusiasts, there is the juice pharmacy, which has drinks for different medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, colds, weight loss, detox cleanse and more. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "R&R Poké, offering Hawaiian-style raw fish and rice bowls, to open up in Wauwatosa soon," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cleanse.' 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 cleanse

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1999, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cleanse

Verb

Middle English clensen, from Old English clǣnsian to purify, from clǣne clean

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Statistics for cleanse

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cleanse

The first known use of cleanse was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for cleanse

cleanse

verb
\ˈklenz \
cleansed; cleansing

Kids Definition of cleanse

: to make clean Cleanse the wound with soap and water.

cleanse

transitive verb
\ˈklenz\
cleansed; cleansing

Medical Definition of cleanse 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to make clean

intransitive verb

: to engage in or undergo a cleanse to remove toxins from the body

cleanse

noun

Medical Definition of cleanse (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very restrictive short-term diet primarily intended to remove toxins from the body

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More from Merriam-Webster on cleanse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cleanse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cleanse

Spanish Central: Translation of cleanse

Nglish: Translation of cleanse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cleanse for Arabic Speakers

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