clear·​ance | \ˈklir-ən(t)s \

Definition of clearance 

1 : an act or process of clearing: such as

a : the removal of buildings from an area (such as a city slum)

b : the act of clearing a ship at the customhouse also : the papers showing that a ship has cleared

c : the offsetting of checks and other claims among banks through a clearinghouse

d : certification as clear of objection : authorization security clearance

e : a sale to clear out stock

f : authorization for an aircraft to proceed especially with a specified action clearance to land

2 : the distance by which one object clears another or the clear space between them

3 : the volume of blood or plasma that can be freed of a specified constituent in a specified time by its excretion into the urine through the kidneys a creatine clearance of 25 milliliters per minute

called also renal clearance

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Examples of clearance in a Sentence

She has a security clearance that allows her to see the classified information. The pilot got clearance to land. That flight has not received clearance for landing. There was only 10 inches of clearance between the car and the side of the tunnel. a bridge with a 100-foot clearance above the water the clearance of forests for farming slum clearance to make room for new housing
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Recent Examples on the Web

The woman, according to the attorney, has had multiple security clearances from the U.S. government, including the State Department and Justice Department. Matt Richardson, Fox News, "Avenatti says more Kavanaugh accusations will go public within 48 hours: 'I state facts and have evidence to back it up'," 26 Sep. 2018 But Apple says the Series 4 does have clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a first for a mainstream smartwatch. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Apple Watch Series 4 sports biggest display yet on Apple’s wearable," 12 Sep. 2018 Besides Brennan, the White House is considering revoking clearances from a slew of other former top law enforcement and intelligence officials, or preventing those who’ve already lost them from obtaining them in the future. Jen Kirby, Vox, "John Brennan: Trump revoked my clearance to scare others “into silence”," 16 Aug. 2018 Former Waggener High School football star Jairus Brents, an incoming freshman at Louisville, is still awaiting academic clearance from the NCAA, according to his trainer Chris Vaughn. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Former Waggener star Jairus Brents enrolls, awaiting NCAA clearance," 13 July 2018 But does Anavex have clearance from regulators in the U.S. and Europe to enroll patients in those Anavex trials? Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Red flags fly over Anavex: What’s stopping the drug maker from enrolling U.S., European patients in trials?," 9 July 2018 Ryan shouldn’t even be able to speak her name in public without clearance from high up. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Paul Ryan Forgets That He’s Garbage, Calls on Maxine Waters to Apologize," 26 June 2018 Members must receive written clearance from their doctors before joining. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Senior Fitness Center Grand Opening Is Here," 6 June 2018 FC Cincinnati took the lead in the 77th minute when Danni Konig capitalized on a poor clearance from the home side and slide the ball to the back post. Charlie Hatch,, "FC Cincinnati wins 2-1 at New York Red Bulls II on Saturday afternoon," 2 June 2018

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

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for clearance

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clearance

The first known use of clearance was in 1540

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More Definitions for clearance



English Language Learners Definition of clearance

: an official decision saying that someone has permission to do something

: official permission for an aircraft, pilot, etc., to do something

: the amount of space between two things


clear·​ance | \ˈklir-əns \

Kids Definition of clearance

1 : the act or process of removing something

2 : the distance by which one object avoids hitting or touching another

3 : official permission The plane has clearance to land.


clear·​ance | \ˈklir-ən(t)s \

Medical Definition of clearance 

: the volume of blood or plasma that could be freed of a specified constituent in a specified time (usually one minute) by excretion of the constituent into the urine through the kidneys

called also renal clearance

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Comments on clearance

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to enclose within walls

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