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

Four other buildings must complete cleanup efforts before Peco can begin its work. Patricia Madej,, "Center City water main break aftermath: A few buildings still lack power, months of work ahead," 11 July 2018 Searches and cleanup efforts were taking place in the southwestern region where several days of heavy rainfall set off flooding and landslides in a widespread area. Fox News, "Japan says death toll from floods climbs to 100," 10 July 2018 China is the world’s biggest source of carbon emissions and its air quality problems are well known, making cleanup efforts there a key goal for international environmental groups. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "Does Praise for China Make Group a ‘Foreign Agent’? Republicans Say It Might," 7 June 2018 In addition to official crews, local residents have volunteered to assist in the cleanup efforts. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Over 150 Headstones Were Spray-Painted With Swastikas at an Illinois Cemetery," 27 May 2018 In a test of their analytical and communication skills, contestants were asked to choose one of three rivers as the best choice to focus a plastic cleanup effort, to reduce the amount of waste going into the ocean. Mark Thiessen, National Geographic, "30th Annual National Geographic Bee Winners Nail Tough Questions," 23 May 2018 But the more users know about Facebook’s cleanup efforts, the bigger the mess that might ensue. Michal Lev-ram, Fortune, "Facebook's Fix-It Team," 22 May 2018 This winter, cleanup efforts stalled, stopped, then started again while a legal dispute over contractors got resolved. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Cleanup all but done on wreckage left by Wine Country wildfires," 10 May 2018 This cleanup effort is the most straightforward, despite its awkward wording. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Giuliani Walks Back Confusing Comments on Daniels and Comey, Creating New Confusion," 4 May 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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Learn More about cleanup

Statistics for cleanup

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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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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 deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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