Idioms

Origin of clean

before 900; Middle English clene, Old English clǣne pure, clear, cognate with Old High German kleini (German klein small)
Related forms
Can be confusedclean cleanse (see synonym study at the current entry)cleanliness cleanness

Synonym study

1. 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. 35. 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for clean out (1 of 2)

clean out


verb (tr, adverb)

(foll by of or from) to remove (something) (from or away from)
slang to leave (someone) with no moneygambling had cleaned him out
informal to exhaust (stocks, goods, etc) completely

British Dictionary definitions for clean out (2 of 2)

Derived Formscleanable, adjectivecleanness, noun

Word Origin for clean

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

Idioms and Phrases with clean out (1 of 2)

clean out


1

See clean up, def. 1.

2

Empty something of its contents, leave bare. For example, The crows cleaned out the whole field of corn, or At the shop's first sale the customers cleaned out the entire stock of shoes. [Mid-1800s]

3

Deprive of money or other material resources. This usage originated in gambling, where it signified losing one's last stake. Charles Dickens had it in Oliver Twist (1838): “He has cleaned me out, but I can go and earn some more.” [Early 1800s]

4

Drive out by force, as in The new CEO tried to get away with cleaning out all employees over the age of 60. [Mid-1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with clean out (2 of 2)

clean


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

also see:

  • come clean
  • have a clear (clean) conscience
  • keep one's nose clean
  • make a clean breast of
  • make a clean sweep
  • new broom sweeps clean
  • take to the cleaners
  • wipe the slate clean
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.