clean bill of health


noun

a certificate of health attesting the lack of a contagious disease, as on a ship.
an assurance, as by a doctor, that one is in good health.
Also clean bill. an assurance, especially an official verdict by a committee, that a group or an individual has proved, under investigation, to be morally sound, fit for office, etc.

Origin of clean bill of health

First recorded in 1850–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Culture definitions for clean bill of health

clean bill of health


To “get a clean bill of health” is to be told by some authoritative source, generally a doctor, that one is perfectly healthy. The phrase is sometimes used figuratively to indicate that a person or organization has been found free of any sort of irregularity: “After looking into her financial background, the Senate gave the nominee a clean bill of health.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with clean bill of health

clean bill of health


A report confirming the absence of fault or guilt in a person or thing, as in Jeff checked every component and gave the computer a clean bill of health, or He had a foolproof alibi so the police had to give him a clean bill of health. This term comes from a 17th-century practice of requiring ships to produce a medical document (bill) attesting to the absence of infectious disease on board before landing.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.