clean·​up | \ ˈklēn-ˌəp How to pronounce cleanup (audio) \

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 made a cleanup [=killing] 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

cleaned up; cleaning up; cleans 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 city will hire seven cleanup crews of 10 people each. M.l. Elrick, Detroit Free Press, "Mayor to Detroit bars: Follow social distancing, mask wearing rules or be shut down," 25 June 2020 But the cleanup by street crews and parks workers also involved overtime, the mayor said. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland’s bill for overtime pay tops $3M for quelling May 30 rioting, follow-up security and cleanup," 24 June 2020 Tying environmental justice issues to NEPA has transformed remediation projects, most notably the cleanup of the Hudson River by General Electric, said Aaron Mair, the former Sierra Club president who helped lead the yearslong push. Scott Waldman, Scientific American, "Trump Waives Environmental Reviews, Vulnerable Communities Could Bear the Brunt," 5 June 2020 The cleanup in the Arctic could cost more than $86 million, Greenpeace estimated. Isabelle Khurshudyan, Anchorage Daily News, "Oil spill in Russian Arctic prompts Putin to declare emergency and slam slow response," 4 June 2020 The cleanup of smashed store windows began Sunday around Florida after a night of unrest throughout the state’s cities. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "Peaceful demonstrations, looting and chanting: George Floyd protests continue for sixth night across US," 31 May 2020 Once the project is completed, the staff at Harbor District Inc. will see the effects of the cleanup effort, as will Beacon Marine and the forthcoming River 1 development, all of which sit on the Kinnickinnic River. Agya K. Aning, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "EPA grant to help clean up Kinnickinnic River - one of the most endangered in the country," 16 June 2020 Its rounded design and steam-release system results in gorgeous, golden waffles, plus, its non-stick surface makes cleanup super easy. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "The 9 best things to buy from-All-Clad's huge VIP Fairgrounds Sale," 13 June 2020 How To Clean Pollen Off a Screened Door Without Removing Place towels under or around the screen door to make cleanup a bit easier. Southern Living, "How To Clean Pollen Off Your Screen Door Without Having a Major Allergy Attack in the Process," 12 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Along with walk the bridge, multiple players joined former offensive lineman Jamon Brown with a cleanup mission downtown last week and the team is planning another service event this week. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Why Louisville football is encouraging players to speak out during protests," 8 June 2020 Volunteers, business owners and city employees participated in cleanup efforts the following morning in the downtown area, according to the release. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "Grand Rapids mayor declares state of civil emergency, enacts curfew for 2 nights," 31 May 2020 Two recent studies, both published in 2018, found impaired lung and heart function and strained breathing, respectively, among cleanup workers and U.S. Coast Guard personnel who had been in contact with the oil. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 17 Apr. 2020 Federal regulators could issue enforcement orders to require cleanup action. USA TODAY, "Native Hawaiian princess, beer bandits, flaming hand sanitizer: News from around our 50 states," 11 Mar. 2020 Intensive cleanup efforts began over a decade ago, after the Environmental Protection Agency declared the canal a Superfund site, and real estate developers began sniffing around the area. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "A 'Netflix for the 99 Percent' Enters the Streaming Wars," 3 Mar. 2020 Cardinals cleanup man Mark McGwire had missed two weeks because of a knee injury, and there was no timetable for the slugger’s return. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, "Angels’ Albert Pujols hangs on as member of vanishing breed: .300 career hitters," 27 Sep. 2019 For years, the public works director was the city’s cleanup man and dutiful caretaker. Jason W. Lloren,, "Bay Briefing: Super bummed — 49ers simply can’t contain the Chiefs," 3 Feb. 2020 Its 75-ounce water reservoir can make up to 8 cups before having to refill, and the removable drip tray makes any and all cleanup simple. Popular Science, "Top-notch coffee pod machines to get your morning started right," 10 Oct. 2019

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 at sense 1

History and Etymology for cleanup


see clean entry 1

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Time Traveler for cleanup

Time Traveler

The first known use of cleanup was in 1872

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Statistics for cleanup

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cleanup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for cleanup


How to pronounce clean up (audio)

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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