adjective, clean·er, clean·est.
- 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.
adverb, clean·er, clean·est.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- 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.
- 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.
- clayton-bulwer treaty,
- clean and jerk,
- clean as a whistle,
- clean bill of health,
- clean breast,
- clean eating
- (of a sail or sails) filled with wind; rap full.
- (of a sailing vessel) with all sails full of wind; rap full.
Origin of clean
Examples from the Web for clean-up
It's so big that after every period, BP pays for the clean-up.Melissa Rivers: Life After Joan—A Funny, Moving Celebration on a Special 'Fashion Police'|Tim Teeman|September 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
On April 20, Ford told mayoral staffers that, ooops, he had lost his phone at a clean-up Toronto community event.
Mike told the clean-up workers to keep going and worry about looking for it later.Sandy’s Rockaway Victims Pause to Vote, Press On With Recovery Efforts|Michael Daly|November 7, 2012|DAILY BEAST
The premier has assessed the clean-up and rebuilding task to be of “post-war proportions”.
The lights came up at 1:30 a.m., as the clean-up crew cleared away glasses and other party detritus.
He had had a trying day of it one way and another and he was longing for a refreshing bath and a clean-up.The Spoilers of the Valley|Robert Watson
But the clean-up slogan was not able alone to conquer the specter of disease.Heroes of To-Day|Mary R. Parkman
When clean-up time was past and the babies asleep, the older ones had a worship service with songs and stories.Across the Fruited Plain|Florence Crannell Means
"All these clean-up campaigns are really for the prevention of illness as much as the making of cleanliness," said Mrs. Morton.Ethel Morton and the Christmas Ship|Mabell S. C. Smith
Why, with your looks—a clean-up in the movies—you don't have to be an actress, you know.Find the Woman|Arthur Somers Roche
- (of a nuclear weapon) producing little or no radioactive fallout or contamination
- uncontaminatedCompare dirty (def. 11)
- innocent; not guilty
- not carrying illegal drugs, weapons, etc
- having its bottom clean
- having a satisfactory bill of health
- (of persons) free from ceremonial defilement
- (of animals, birds, and fish) lawful to eat
Word Origin for clean
also cleanup, 1856, "act of cleaning up," from clean + up. Meaning "a profit" is recorded from 1878. Verbal phrase clean up "make a large profit" is from 1929. The adjective, in the baseball sense, is recorded by 1910.
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."
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
- 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