clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn How to pronounce clean (audio) \

Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : free from dirt or pollution changed to clean clothes clean solar energy
b : free from contamination or disease a clean wound
c : free or relatively free from radioactivity a clean atomic explosion
2a : unadulterated, pure the clean thrill of one's first flight
b of a precious stone : having no interior flaws visible
c : free from growth that hinders tillage clean farmland
3a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind a candidate with a clean record also : free from violations a clean driving record
b : free from offensive treatment of sexual subjects and from the use of obscenity a clean joke
c : observing the rules : fair a clean fight
4 : ceremonially or spiritually pure and all who are clean may eat flesh — Leviticus 7:19 (Revised Standard Version)
5a : thorough, complete a clean break with the past
b : deftly executed : skillful clean ballet technique The gymnast made a clean landing.
c : hit beyond the reach of an opponent a clean single to center
6a : relatively free from error or blemish : clear specifically : legible clean copy
b : unencumbered clean bill of sale
7a : characterized by clarity and precision : trim a clean prose style architecture with clean almost austere lines
b : even, smooth a clean edge a sharp blow causing a clean break
c : free from external hindrances to smooth flow (as of water or air) a clean airplane a ship with a clean bottom
8a : empty the ship returned with a clean hold
b : free from drug addiction has been clean for six months
c slang : having no contraband (such as weapons or drugs) in one's possession All visitors to the prison are searched to make sure they're clean.
d of a computer : not having anything added by a user installed the software on a clean computer
9 : habitually neat

clean

adverb

Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : so as to clean a new broom sweeps clean
b : in a clean manner play the game clean
2 : all the way : completely the bullet went clean through his arm

clean

verb
cleaned; cleaning; cleans

Definition of clean (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to make clean: such as
(1) : to rid of dirt, impurities, or extraneous matter clean a wound
(2) : to rid of corruption vowing to clean up city hall
b : remove, eradicate usually used with up or off clean up that mess
2a : strip, empty a tree cleaned of fruit
b : to remove the entrails from clean fish
c : to deprive of money or possessions often used with out they cleaned him out completely

intransitive verb

: to undergo or perform a process of cleaning clean up before dinner
clean house
1 : to clean a house and its furniture
2 : to make sweeping reforms or changes (as of personnel)
clean one's clock
: to beat one badly in a fight or competition
clean up one's act
: to behave in a more acceptable manner

clean

noun

Definition of clean (Entry 4 of 4)

: an act of cleaning dirt especially from the surface of something She gave the tub a good clean.

Other Words from clean

Verb

cleanability \ ˌklē-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce clean (audio) \ noun
cleanable \ ˈklē-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce clean (audio) \ adjective

Examples of clean in a Sentence

Adjective This table isn't clean. There's a sticky spot where something spilled. He keeps a very clean house. The janitor does a good job of keeping the office clean. I wiped the baby's face clean. He's a clean young man. Cats are very clean animals. Solar power provides clean energy. Adverb Somehow, the top of the machine came clean off. The nail went clean through the wall. The fish were jumping clean out of the water. Verb The carpet needs to be cleaned. They divide household duties so that she cleans and her husband cooks. They cleaned the fish and cooked them on the campfire. skin and clean a rabbit
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The department's responsibilities range from street maintenance to forestry to parking enforcement to the provision of clean drinking water. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Nov. 2021 The group of tribal members, water experts and nonprofits pushes for access to clean water for tribes in the Colorado River basin and beyond. Felicia Fonseca, ajc, 17 Nov. 2021 Prices typically go down after Labor Day because the demand also drops, and the summer clean-air formula for California’s gas is no longer required, but that hasn’t been the case this year. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Nov. 2021 Yet, the administration hopes to sell the new law as a success that bridged partisan divides and will elevate the country with clean drinking water, high-speed internet and a shift away from fossil fuels. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 16 Nov. 2021 Yet the administration hopes to sell the new law as a success that bridged partisan divides and will elevate the country with clean drinking water, high-speed internet and a shift away from fossil fuels. Josh Boak, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Nov. 2021 More money would be invested in clean energy tax credits. Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2021 With 2020′s dramatically clean air in cities from India to Italy, some people may have hoped the world was on the right track in reducing carbon pollution, but scientists said that wasn’t the case. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Nov. 2021 With 2020′s dramatically clean air in cities from India to Italy, some people may have hoped the world was on the right track in reducing carbon pollution, but scientists said that wasn’t the case. NBC News, 4 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Without the mess of ash and soot, these clean-burning units require much less upkeep than traditional wood-burning fireplaces, but a bit of gas fireplace maintenance is essential to keep yours in top shape. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Oct. 2021 The steel was produced using HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology), which uses electricity from renewable sources to create the clean-burning gas. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Sep. 2021 The clean-living trend has gained steam in recent years, particularly among celebrities and their followings. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, 14 July 2021 This clean-burning fuel significantly reduces emissions over more traditional marine bunker oil, thereby lessening the ship's environmental footprint. Tim Walters, USA TODAY, 30 Apr. 2021 There are times of year when turbines on the Columbia River produce more electricity than needed, and a public utility wants to use that excess power to create a clean-burning fuel for factories, trucks or power plants. Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2021 The action cycles smoothly, and the gun has a clean-breaking, fully adjustable trigger. Michael Dickerson, Outdoor Life, 8 Dec. 2020 The clean-burning coconut wax is housed in exquisite glass vessels. Christina Vercelletto, CNN Underscored, 27 Oct. 2020 Juana’s parents didn’t grumble about the work at the factory, where hundreds of workers lined up in rows to perform a task — stun, slaughter, pluck feathers, clean, cut or debone. Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The best form of dialysis for people with PKD is hemodialysis, where a dialysis machine is used to clean your blood. Hallie Levine, Health.com, 19 Nov. 2021 Keep in mind, though, that rugs made of natural materials could be harder to clean than synthetic rugs. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 There’s something so liberating about being able to fully clean both sides of the windows, which is just inconceivable in the United States. Diana Budds, Curbed, 18 Nov. 2021 The next morning Eric was supposed to meet his father at his father's house to clean the garage. jsonline.com, 18 Nov. 2021 In the video, Sterling sticks her hand out to the side for Silver to clean after snacking on some avocado. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, 16 Nov. 2021 Here’s how to clean shrimp: First, remove the shell. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 16 Nov. 2021 The products are also designed to self-clean every two hours. Tanya Klich, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Don’t shift that old lady chicken smell to clean clothes in closets and drawers. Cameron Smith | Csmith@al.com, al, 13 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now this strategy of eliminating the traditional fall clean-up isn’t an easy thing to do. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 13 Nov. 2021 Prosper Portland will pay to remove wharf pilings and for other limited site clean-up, but will not contribute additional funding to the redevelopment. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 10 Nov. 2021 Like many people during quarantine, Katie Couric used her time hunkered down at home to do a major closet clean-out. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, 15 June 2021 Like many of us over the past year, Hilton also did a top-to-bottom closet clean-out recently. Rachel Marlowe, Vogue, 27 May 2021 What better way to kick-start your clean-out than with a free pair of underwear? Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, 2 Apr. 2021 The city estimated that cattail clean-out in South Twin Lake and Ryan Lake would cost $50,000, though the city engineer had put the cost at $145,300. Star Tribune Staff, Star Tribune, 23 Jan. 2021 Use these leaf-raking tips to make quick work of your fall clean-up. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 18 Oct. 2021 And when the dustbin gets full, simply pull it out and empty it into the trash for easy clean-up. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 16 Oct. 2021

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

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clean

Adjective

Middle English clene, going back to Old English clǣne "free from impurities or dirt, unblemished," going back to West Germanic *klainja- (whence also Old Saxon klēni "slender, perceptive," Middle Dutch cleine, clēne "of superior quality, elegant, slender, small," Old High German kleini, chleine "fine, delicate, clever"), of uncertain origin

Note: On the grounds that Low German klīn and Swiss German khlii, with an ablaut grade *klīn-, require a verbal origin, a base *klein-/*klain-/klin- has been suggested, whence Old Norse klína "to smear, butter (bread)," Old High German giklenan "to stroke, smear," from Indo-European *glei̯H- "smear, make stick" (whence, also with a nasal present formation, Old Irish glenaid "(it) adheres, cleaves," Welsh glynu "to stick, adhere"; cf. clay). This derivation would imply for the Germanic adjective an original meaning "smeared on well, carefully applied," hence "well crafted, of superior quality" > "free of impurities, fine, delicate" > "small" (see F. Heidermanns, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der germanischen Primäradjektiven, Berlin, 1993). The earlier proposal of a connection with Indo-European *gel- "bright, shining," is improbable, as none of the descendants of Germanic *klainja- have this meaning.

Adverb

Middle English clene, going back to Old English clǣne, derivative of clǣne clean entry 1

Verb

Middle English clenen "to clear of weeds," derivative of clene clean entry 1

Noun

noun derivative of clean entry 3

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Time Traveler for clean

Time Traveler

The first known use of clean was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near clean

cleam

clean

clean and jerk

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Statistics for clean

Last Updated

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clean. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for clean

clean

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: free from dirt, marks, etc. : not dirty
: tending to keep clean
: free from pollution or other dangerous substances

clean

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 4)

: all the way : completely or entirely

clean

verb

English Language Learners Definition of clean (Entry 3 of 4)

: to make (something) clean : to remove dirt, marks, etc., from (something)
: to become clean
: to make (something, such as a room) neat and orderly

clean

noun

English Language Learners Definition of clean (Entry 4 of 4)

: an act of removing dirt from something

clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn How to pronounce clean (audio) \
cleaner; cleanest

Kids Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : free of dirt or pollution clean air Put on a clean shirt.
2 : not yet used Use a clean sheet of paper.
3 : not involving or showing involvement with anything wrong or illegal good, clean fun I've got a clean record.
4 : not offensive a clean joke
5 : thorough sense 1 She made a clean break with the past.
6 : having a simple graceful form : trim The ship has clean lines.
7 : smooth entry 1 sense 1 The knife made a clean cut.

Other Words from clean

cleanly \ ˈklēn-​lē \ adverb

clean

adverb

Kids Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 3)

: all the way : completely The nail went clean through. Birds picked the bones clean.

clean

verb
cleaned; cleaning

Kids Definition of clean (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make or become free of dirt or disorder I cleaned my room. Please clean up for supper.

Other Words from clean

cleaner noun

clean

adjective
\ ˈklēn How to pronounce clean (audio) \

Medical Definition of clean

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : free from dirt or pollution
b : free from disease or infectious agents a pullorum-clean flock keep installations clean of TB infection
2 : free from smudges or anything that tends to obscure a clean set of fingerprints
3 of a horse's leg : free from curbs or bunches below the hock
4 : free from drug addiction

clean

transitive verb

Medical Definition of clean (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to brush (the teeth) with a cleanser (as a dentifrice)
2 : to perform dental prophylaxis on (the teeth)

clean

adjective

Legal Definition of clean

: free of amendments or annotations

More from Merriam-Webster on clean

Nglish: Translation of clean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clean for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about clean

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