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.
- (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
Synonyms for clean
Antonyms for clean
Examples from the Web for clean-up
Contemporary Examples of 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'
September 20, 2014
On April 20, Ford told mayoral staffers that, ooops, he had lost his phone at a clean-up Toronto community event.Speed Read: 474 Pages of Rob Ford
December 5, 2013
Foot traffic on Tuesday consisted mostly of construction and clean-up crews in white zip-up suits.Small Businesses Struggle to Survive After Sandy’s Wrath
November 23, 2012
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
November 7, 2012
The premier has assessed the clean-up and rebuilding task to be of “post-war proportions”.Australia Flood Photos: Brisbane Is Underwater
January 14, 2011
Historical Examples of clean-up
This was the race as programmed; this was the Pitkin annual clean-up as planned.Old Man Curry
Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan
The law-and-order party was preparing to make a clean-up of the desperadoes.When the West Was Young
Frederick R. Bechdolt
Then vivaciously, 'My faith, your pilot-house wants a clean-up!'Heart of Darkness
All of the others were rockhounds, and three of them worked in his own clean-up gang.Second Sight
Basil Eugene Wells
For three days we shovelled in, and on the fourth we made a clean-up.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
- (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
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