clean·​up | \ ˈklēn-ˌəp \

Definition of cleanup

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an act or instance of cleaning The children helped with the cleanup.
2 : an exceptionally large profit : killing made a cleanup when he sold his stocks



Definition of cleanup (Entry 2 of 3)

: being in the fourth position in the batting order of a baseball team a cleanup hitter

clean up


Definition of clean up (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a spectacular profit in a business enterprise or a killing in speculation or gambling
2 : to become free of drug or alcohol addiction I always cleaned up for tours. … By the end of the tour, I'm perfectly clean and should have stayed sober.— Keith Richards

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Other Words from cleanup


cleanup adverb

Examples of cleanup in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The coming year brings the cleanup and a return to the optimism that technology is really good for the world. David Pierce, WSJ, "Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Making matters worse, Frickel explains, is the current system of site investigation and cleanup. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Booming postindustrial neighborhoods often overlook polluted past," 9 Oct. 2018 Cook once to enjoy a dish two or more times without the work or cleanup. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Table for 1: For solo diners, cooking at home offers many perks," 12 July 2018 Another landowner along the waterway, San Diego River Park Foundation has received $25,000 from the city to conduct surveys and cleanups along the river, removing about 27 tons of trash. Cliff Kapono,, "City partners with private and public groups to clean up San Diego River," 11 July 2018 Or go south on Saturday and sign up for a community cleanup and paddle in Jamaica Bay. New York Times, "Free (or Cheap) Things to Do in NYC This Weekend," 5 July 2018 The show would go on after all at Candlestick, with numerous groups volunteering to help with staging and cleanup. Bill Van Niekerken,, "Six decades of SF Fourth of July photos, from fireworks to fog-outs," 4 July 2018 Stores in the historic district have begun to reopen as construction and cleanup continues. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "Officials say Ellicott City must adapt to survive future floods," 29 June 2018 Much of the money that came into Paradigm came from rental tenants' security deposits, which is used for cleanup and repairs on rentals, and then the remainder should be returned to the tenant. Ruth Brown, idahostatesman, "Lawsuit accuses Meridian-based property management LLC of embezzling up to $1 million," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Under the plan, the EPA's Superfund program would absorb portions of hazardous site cleanup programs run by the Interior and Agriculture departments. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Trump's plan to overhaul government would give Interior and EPA more power," 22 June 2018 Community members routinely host cleanup events to improve conditions. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘We don’t need to panic just yet:’ D.C. residents worry that a dog park is in peril," 11 May 2018 Most facilities reopened at midday, but officials warned that traffic could be slow as cleanup work continues. Washington Post, "National Digest: Yosemite reopens after storm-related flooding," 9 Apr. 2018 Much of that work is thanks to crews from the county’s Department of Public Works, which in the days immediately after the flood deployed 40 workers to Main Street to begin cleanup efforts. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "As Ellicott City flood recovery continues, other Howard public works projects stalled," 14 June 2018 Members decided at that time to hold an internal donation drive for the town and assist with cleanup efforts. Janene Holzberg, Howard County Times, "Shakespeare coming to the aid of Ellicott City in pair of benefit performances," 8 June 2018 Keeping things streamlined to a few ingredients all cooked in one packet means more time for hanging out and enjoying a relaxing meal with very little cleanup time. For Kroger, The Courier-Journal, "It's outdoor dining season: celebrate with zesty grilling dinner packets," 26 May 2018 Members of the Sleeping Giant Park Association Monday is appealing to the public to stay away so cleanup crews can do their work. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Sleeping Giant Closed For Summer Due To Storm Damage," 21 May 2018 Melissa Meehan and Marianne Quasebarth coordinate the annual cleanup day and tree-planting event, which takes place the last Saturday in April. Carol Kovach,, "Chilly, soggy weather didn't stop Keep Lakewood Beautiful volunteers from sprucing up the city," 29 Apr. 2018

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


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1912, in the meaning defined above


1920, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cleanup


see clean entry 1

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Statistics for cleanup

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cleanup

The first known use of cleanup was in 1872

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More Definitions for cleanup



English Language Learners Definition of cleanup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the process of cleaning something



English Language Learners Definition of cleanup (Entry 2 of 2)

: fourth in the batting order of a baseball team

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More from Merriam-Webster on cleanup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cleanup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cleanup

Nglish: Translation of cleanup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cleanup for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cleanup

What made you want to look up cleanup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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