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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cleanup


cleanup adverb

Examples of cleanup in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Though firefighters were initially working to clear the area, ultimately Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has been responsible for the cleanup, National City Fire Marshal Robert Hernandez said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Roads open in National City after train derailment," 2 July 2019 Taylor Energy had filed several federal lawsuits over the years, including a claim seeking to win back $432 million left in a trust fund to pay for the cleanup. Darryl Fears, Washington Post, "A ‘volcano’ at the bottom of the gulf," 1 July 2019 And while responsible parties can be forced to pay for cleanup of hazardous waste, in recent years most Superfund work has been funded out of the general treasury. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Toxic waste, explained," 26 June 2019 Repairs on the 12-inch wide pipe, which broke just before 8 p.m. on Gallivan Boulevard at Hallet Street, were completed Sunday, the department said on Twitter at 7:51 a.m. Crews remained on the scene for cleanup and paving. Lucas Phillips,, "Dorchester water main break repaired," 16 June 2019 After flooding in 2001, the city needed more than $3 million to pay for cleanup. Tristan Baurick,, "For some Mississippi River cities, there are only 2 choices — adapt or move: The River’s Revenge," 15 June 2019 The homeowner had been slapped with more than $8,000 in liens to pay for the cleanup of her house, yard and garage. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "Bids awarded to raze five Hobart homes," 6 June 2019 There's been no further word on whether the city or Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have officially requested the federal government to provide disaster assistance to help pay for the ransomware cleanup. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Baltimore’s bill for ransomware: Over $18 million, so far," 5 June 2019 The project would have cost more than $3.5 million, including nearly $2.5 million for environmental cleanup. Robert Higgs,, "Cleveland looking for consultant to rev up new ideas for dirt track site, programs for riders," 3 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That same month, the Democratic congressman went to the House floor to praise Holtec International and its chairman, Kris Singh, a campaign contributor who was seeking federal approvals and funding for nuclear cleanup initiatives around the country. Susan Schmidt, ProPublica, "Meet the Congressman Defending Questionable Tax Breaks for a Company Connected to His Rich Brother," 2 July 2019 The company has been broadening its product line to include data cleanup and machine learning tools, enabling it to compete in the wider data-warehousing business. Bloomberg,, "Salesforce to buy Tableau for $15.3 billion, making push into big data," 10 June 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cleanup

Statistics for cleanup

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cleanup

The first known use of cleanup was in 1872

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!