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2017 Word of the Year

cleanse

[klenz] /klɛnz/
verb (used with object), cleansed, cleansing.
1.
to make clean.
2.
to remove by or as if by cleaning:
to cleanse sin from the soul.
verb (used without object), cleansed, cleansing.
3.
to become clean.
Origin of cleanse
900
before 900; Middle English clensen, Old English clǣnsian, equivalent to clǣne clean + -si- v. suffix + -an infinitive suffix
Related forms
cleansable, adjective
recleanse, verb (used with object), recleansed, recleansing.
uncleansable, adjective
uncleansed, adjective
well-cleansed, adjective
Can be confused
clean, cleanse (see synonym study at clean)
Synonym Study
1. See clean.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cleansing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For a moment there were other duties to be attended to, a clearance and cleansing.

  • There in front of him, heaving and tumbling, was the sea: a miracle of healing and cleansing.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • It seemed to her, too, that she would be helping him by cleansing him a little.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • But the old joy, the sense of purity and cleansing, did not come.

  • She should have left on his face the warm touch of hers and the cleansing of her tears.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for cleansing

cleanse

/klɛnz/
verb (transitive)
1.
to remove dirt, filth, etc, from
2.
to remove guilt from
3.
to remove a group of people from (an area) by means of ethnic cleansing
Derived Forms
cleansable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English clǣnsian; related to Middle Low German klēnsen; see clean
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 cleansing
n.

Old English clænsunge "cleansing, purifying, castigation; chastity, purity," verbal noun from the root of cleanse. As a present participle adjective, attested from c.1300.

cleanse

v.

Old English clænsian "to cleanse, purge, purify, chasten, justify," from West Germanic *klainson, from *klainoz (see clean (adj.)). Despite its modern spelling (16c.), it retains its Middle English pronunciation. Related: Cleansed; cleansing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Nearby words for cleansing

Word Value for cleansing

12
17
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