- free from dirt; unsoiled; unstained: She bathed and put on a clean dress.
- free from foreign or extraneous matter: clean sand.
- free from pollution; unadulterated; pure: clean air; clean water.
- habitually free of dirt: Cats are considered clean animals.
- characterized by a fresh, wholesome quality: the clean smell of pine.
- free from all writing or marking: a clean sheet of paper.
- having few or no corrections; easily readable: The publisher demanded clean proofs from the printer.
- free from roughness or irregularity: He made a clean cut with a razor.
- not ornate; gracefully spare; forceful and simple; trim; streamlined: a clean literary style; the clean lines of a ship.
- complete; unqualified: a clean break with tradition.
- morally pure; innocent; upright; honorable: to lead a clean life.
- showing good sportsmanship; fair: a clean fighter.
- inoffensive in language or content; without obscenity.
- (of a document, record, etc.) bearing no marks of discreditable or unlawful conduct; listing no offenses: a clean driver's license.
- innocent of any crime.
- not having a criminal record.
- carrying or containing no evidence of unlawful activity or intent, as controlled substances, unlicensed weapons, or contraband: The agents searched the car for drugs, but it was clean.
- not using narcotics.
- (of a nuclear weapon) producing little or no radioactive fallout.
- not radioactive.
- (of a document or financial instrument) free from qualifications or restrictions: a clean bill of lading.
- free from defects or flaws: a clean diamond.
- free from encumbrances or obstructions.
- neatly or evenly made or proportioned; shapely; trim: a clean profile.
- made without any unanticipated difficulty or interference: The bank robbers made a clean getaway.
- Chiefly Biblical. having no physical or moral blemish or carrying no taboo so as to make impure according to the laws, especially the dietary or ceremonial laws: a clean animal; clean persons.
- dexterously performed; adroit: a clean serve in tennis.
- (of a jump over an obstacle) made without touching the obstacle.
- Slang. having no direct associations, business interests, etc., that could prejudice one's official acts or decisions: The new governor is clean because he's sold his construction business and doesn't owe political favors to anyone.
- Slang. without money or funds.
- (of wine) having a taste that is unusually refreshing and smooth.
- Nautical. (of an anchorage, harbor, etc.) free of obstructions or hazards (opposed to foul).
- (of the legs of a horse) free from injury or blemish, as capped hocks, splints, or scars.
- Foreign Exchange. (of currency floats) not influenced by exchange-rate manipulation (opposed to dirty).
- in a clean manner; cleanly: Nobody wants to box with him because he doesn't fight clean.
- so as to be clean: This shirt will never wash clean.
- Informal. wholly; completely; quite: The sharp carving knife sliced clean through the roast. In a year, he had gone clean through his inheritance.
- to make clean: Clean those dirty shoes.
- to remove or consume the contents of; empty; clear: She sat down to dinner ravenous and within five minutes had cleaned her plate.
- to dry-clean.
- to remove the entrails and other inedible parts from (poultry, fish, etc.); dress.
- Slang. to take away or win all or almost all the money or possessions of (often followed by out): The cards were marked and I got cleaned.
- Metallurgy. to remove the seams from (a casting) by filing or grinding.
- Philately. to delete intentionally the cancellation from (a postage or revenue stamp).
- to perform or undergo a process of cleaning: This kind of fabric cleans easily. Detergents clean better than most soaps.
- to get rid of dirt, soil, etc. (often followed by up): to spend the morning cleaning.
- clean out,
- to empty in order to straighten or clean.
- to use up; exhaust: He had cleaned out his savings.
- Informal.to drive out by force.
- to empty or rid (a place) of occupants, contents, etc.: Eager customers cleaned out the store on the first day of the sale. The thief cleaned out the safe.
- Slang.to cause to lose all or almost all one's money or possessions.
- clean up,
- to wash or tidy up.
- to rid of undesirable persons or features: They cleaned up the local bars.
- to put an end to; finish: to clean up yesterday's chores.
- Informal.to make a large profit: They cleaned up in the stock market.
- clean full, Nautical.
- (of a sail or sails) filled with wind; rap full.
- (of a sailing vessel) with all sails full of wind; rap full.
- clean house, to wipe out corruption, inefficiency, etc., as in an organization: It's time for the city government to clean house.
- clean up one's act. act(def 29).
- come clean, Slang. to tell the truth, especially to admit one's guilt.
Origin of clean
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- without dirt or other impurities; unsoiled
- without anything in it or on ita clean page
- recently washed; fresh
- without extraneous or foreign materials
- without defect, difficulties, or problemsa clean test flight
- (of a nuclear weapon) producing little or no radioactive fallout or contamination
- uncontaminatedCompare dirty (def. 11)
- (of a wound, etc) having no pus or other sign of infection
- pure; morally sound
- without objectionable language or obscenitya clean joke
- (of printer's proofs, etc) relatively free from errors; easily readableclean copy
- thorough or completea clean break
- dexterous or adroita clean throw
- sport played fairly and without fouls
- simple in designa ship's clean lines
- aeronautics causing little turbulence; streamlined
- (of an aircraft) having no projections, such as rockets, flaps, etc, into the airstream
- honourable or respectable
- habitually neat
- (esp of a driving licence) showing or having no record of offences
- innocent; not guilty
- not carrying illegal drugs, weapons, etc
- nautical (of a vessel)
- having its bottom clean
- having a satisfactory bill of health
- Old Testament
- (of persons) free from ceremonial defilement
- (of animals, birds, and fish) lawful to eat
- New Testament morally and spiritually pure
- clean sweep See sweep (def. 33)
- to make or become free of dirt, filth, etcthe stove cleans easily
- (tr) to remove in making cleanto clean marks off the wall
- (tr) to prepare (fish, poultry, etc) for cookingto clean a chicken
- in a clean way; cleanly
- not standard (intensifier)clean forgotten; clean dead
- clean bowled cricket bowled by a ball that breaks the wicket without hitting the batsman or his bat
- come clean informal to make a revelation or confession
- the act or an instance of cleaninghe gave his shoes a clean
Word Origin and History for clean house
Old English clæne "free from dirt or filth; pure, chaste, innocent; open, in the open," of beasts, "ritually safe to eat," from West Germanic *klainoz "clear, pure" (cf. Old Saxon kleni "dainty, delicate," Old Frisian klene "small," Old High German kleini "delicate, fine, small," German klein "small;" English preserves the original Germanic sense), from PIE root *gel- "bright, gleaming" (cf. Greek glene "eyeball," Old Irish gel "bright").
"Largely replaced by clear, pure in the higher senses" [Weekley], but as a verb (mid-15c.) it has largely usurped what once belonged to cleanse. Meaning "whole, entire" is from c.1300 (clean sweep in the figurative sense is from 1821). Sense of "innocent" is from c.1300; that of "not lewd" is from 1867; that of "not carrying anything forbidden" is from 1938; that of "free of drug addiction" is from 1950s. To come clean "confess" is from 1919, American English.
mid-15c., "make clean," from clean (adj.). Related: Cleaned; cleaning. From clean out "clean by emptying" comes sense of "to leave bare" (1844); cleaned-out "left penniless by losses" is from 1812.
Old English clæne "dirtlessly," also "clearly, fully, entirely;" see clean (adj.). Cf. similar use of German rein "clean."
Idioms and Phrases with clean house
Wipe out corruption or inefficiency, as in It's time the Republican Party cleaned house. This usage is most often applied to an organization. [Slang; c. 1900]
Punish, give a beating, as in Whenever he was drunk he threatened to clean house on one and all. [Slang; c. 1900]
In addition to the idioms beginning with clean
- clean as a whistle
- clean bill of health
- clean breast
- clean hands, have
- clean house
- cleanliness is next to godliness
- clean out
- clean slate
- clean someone's clock
- clean sweep
- clean up