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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[kleen] /klin/
adjective, cleaner, cleanest.
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.
  1. innocent of any crime.
  2. not having a criminal record.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
adverb, cleaner, cleanest.
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.
verb (used with object)
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).
verb (used without object)
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.
Verb phrases
clean out,
  1. to empty in order to straighten or clean.
  2. to use up; exhaust:
    He had cleaned out his savings.
  3. Informal. to drive out by force.
  4. 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.
  5. Slang. to cause to lose all or almost all one's money or possessions.
clean up,
  1. to wash or tidy up.
  2. to rid of undesirable persons or features:
    They cleaned up the local bars.
  3. to put an end to; finish:
    to clean up yesterday's chores.
  4. Informal. to make a large profit:
    They cleaned up in the stock market.
clean full, Nautical.
  1. (of a sail or sails) filled with wind; rap full.
  2. (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
before 900; Middle English clene, Old English clǣne pure, clear, cognate with Old High German kleini (German klein small)
Related forms
cleanness, noun
half-cleaned, adjective
overclean, adjective
overcleanly, adverb
overcleanness, noun
preclean, verb (used with object)
reclean, verb (used with object)
superclean, adjective
uncleaned, adjective
Can be confused
clean, cleanse (see synonym study at the current entry)
cleanliness, cleanness.
1. neat, immaculate. Clean, clear, pure refer to freedom from soiling, flaw, stain, or mixture. Clean refers especially to freedom from soiling: a clean shirt. Clear refers particularly to freedom from flaw or blemish: a clear pane of glass. Pure refers especially to freedom from mixture or stain: a pure metal; not diluted but pure and full strength. 7. legible. 11. unsullied, chaste, virtuous. 19. unblemished, flawless. 34. entirely, thoroughly. 35. scour, scrub, sweep, brush, wipe, mop, dust, wash, rinse, lave, deterge, purify, clear; decontaminate. Clean, cleanse refer to removing dirt or impurities. To clean is the general word with no implication of method or means: to clean windows, a kitchen, streets. Cleanse is especially used of thorough cleaning by chemical or other technical process; figuratively it applies to moral or spiritual purification: to cleanse parts of machinery; to cleanse one's soul of guilt.
1. dirty. 17. contaminated, radioactive. 35. soil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cleanest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was the cleanest and most wholesome place I ever worked in.

    An Anarchist Woman Hutchins Hapgood
  • The town is well built, and the cleanest I have yet seen since leaving Europe.

    In Eastern Seas J. J. Smith
  • Mrs. Metz is the cleanest little German woman you ever saw,—scrubs even the under sides of her tables as white as the tops.

    Mary Ware in Texas Annie F. Johnston
  • His coat is soiled and torn, his cravat is put on awry, and his linen is none of the cleanest.

    City Crimes Greenhorn
  • Geneva is one of the finest, cleanest, and most charming towns in the world.

    From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin
  • Yet there is truth in what he says, for, as you know well, the song was not of the cleanest.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • There is much dust, much dampness and much need for more cleanliness even in the cleanest cellars.

British Dictionary definitions for cleanest


without dirt or other impurities; unsoiled
without anything in it or on it: a clean page
recently washed; fresh
without extraneous or foreign materials
without defect, difficulties, or problems: a clean test flight
  1. (of a nuclear weapon) producing little or no radioactive fallout or contamination
  2. uncontaminated Compare dirty (sense 11)
(of a wound, etc) having no pus or other sign of infection
pure; morally sound
without objectionable language or obscenity: a clean joke
(of printer's proofs, etc) relatively free from errors; easily readable: clean copy
thorough or complete: a clean break
dexterous or adroit: a clean throw
(sport) played fairly and without fouls
simple in design: a 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
  1. innocent; not guilty
  2. not carrying illegal drugs, weapons, etc
(nautical, of a vessel)
  1. having its bottom clean
  2. having a satisfactory bill of health
(Old Testament)
  1. (of persons) free from ceremonial defilement
  2. (of animals, birds, and fish) lawful to eat
(New Testament) morally and spiritually pure
clean sweep, See sweep (sense 33)
to make or become free of dirt, filth, etc: the stove cleans easily
(transitive) to remove in making clean: to clean marks off the wall
(transitive) to prepare (fish, poultry, etc) for cooking: to clean a chicken
in a clean way; cleanly
(not standard) (intensifier): clean forgotten, clean dead
(cricket) clean bowled, bowled by a ball that breaks the wicket without hitting the batsman or his bat
(informal) come clean, to make a revelation or confession
the act or an instance of cleaning: he gave his shoes a clean
See also clean out, clean up
Derived Forms
cleanable, adjective
cleanness, noun
Word Origin
Old English clǣne; related to Old Frisian klēne small, neat, Old High German kleini
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cleanest



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cleanest



  1. Not carrying anything forbidden, esp a firearm: Cops gave him a body-shake and he came out clean (1926+)
  2. Innocent; unincriminated (1300+)
  3. Not producing radioactive contamination: a clean bomb (1950s+)
  4. Lacking money; broke, cleaned out (late 1900s+)
  5. Not lewd or obscene; morally unexceptionable: a couple of clean jokes/ a clean old man (1867+)
  6. Trim; neat; elegant: Mies' clean lines and crisp angles (1400+)
  7. Free of drug addiction (1950s+ Narcotics)
  8. Well-dressed; clad in the latest style: Danny, he was really clean. He had new clothes (1960s+ Black)


: I was crazy about Lester. He played so clean and beautiful

Related Terms

come clean, keep one's nose clean, squeaky-clean


Related Terms

mister clean

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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cleanest in the Bible

The various forms of uncleanness according to the Mosaic law are enumerated in Lev. 11-15; Num. 19. The division of animals into clean and unclean was probably founded on the practice of sacrifice. It existed before the Flood (Gen. 7:2). The regulations regarding such animals are recorded in Lev. 11 and Deut. 14:1-21. The Hebrews were prohibited from using as food certain animal substances, such as (1) blood; (2) the fat covering the intestines, termed the caul; (3) the fat on the intestines, called the mesentery; (4) the fat of the kidneys; and (5) the fat tail of certain sheep (Ex. 29:13, 22; Lev. 3:4-9; 9:19; 17:10; 19:26). The chief design of these regulations seems to have been to establish a system of regimen which would distinguish the Jews from all other nations. Regarding the design and the abolition of these regulations the reader will find all the details in Lev. 20:24-26; Acts 10:9-16; 11:1-10; Heb. 9:9-14.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with cleanest
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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