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clean (klēn)
Share:
adj. clean·er, clean·est
1. Free from dirt, stain, or impurities; unsoiled: a clean kitchen floor; clean clothes.
2.
a. Free from foreign matter or pollution; unadulterated: clean air; clean drinking water.
b. Not infected: a clean wound.
3.
a. Producing relatively little pollution: a clean fuel; a cleaner, more efficient engine.
b. Producing relatively little radioactive fallout or contamination: a clean nuclear bomb.
4. Having no imperfections or blemishes; regular or even: a clean edge; a smooth, clean joint.
5.
a. Not ornate or intricate; spare: "the clean lines and exquisite proportions of early modernism" (Judith Thurman).
b. Sharply defined; clear-cut: a clean outline against the sky.
6. Free from clumsiness; deft; adroit: a clean throw.
7. Devoid of restrictions or encumbrances: a clean bill of health.
8. Thorough; complete: a clean getaway.
9. Having few alterations or corrections; legible: clean manuscript.
10. Blank: a clean page.
11.
a. Morally pure; virtuous: led a clean life.
b. Having no marks of discredit or offense: a clean voting record.
12. Fit for all readers, listeners, or audiences; not ribald or obscene: a clean joke.
13. Honest or fair: a clean fighter; a clean competition.
14. Slang
a. Not carrying concealed weapons or drugs.
b. Innocent of a suspected crime.
15. Informal
a. Free from narcotics addiction.
b. Showing no evidence of using banned or performance-enhancing substances: proven to be clean before the race.
adv. cleaner, cleanest
1. So as to be unsoiled: wash the dishes clean.
2. In a fair manner: played the game clean.
3. In a clean or nonpolluting manner: a fuel that burns clean.
4. Informal Entirely; wholly: clean forgot the appointment.
v. cleaned, clean·ing, cleans
v.tr.
1. To rid of dirt, rubbish, or impurities: clean a room; clean a suit.
2. To get rid of (impurities or dirt, for example); remove: cleaned up the trash; cleaned off the stains.
3. To prepare (fowl or other food) for cooking, as by removing the entrails or fat.
4. To remove the contents from; empty: cleaned my plate.
5. Sports To lift (a barbell) from the floor to the shoulders in one motion.
v.intr.
To undergo or perform an act of cleaning.
Phrasal Verbs:
clean out
1. To rid of dirt, rubbish, or impurities.
2. To empty of contents or occupants.
3. Informal To drive or force out: cleaned out the incompetent workers.
4. Slang To deprive completely of money or material wealth: The robbery cleaned us out.
clean up
1. To make clean or orderly.
2. To make oneself clean, neat, or presentable.
3. To dispose of; settle: cleaned up the unpaid bills.
4. Slang To make a large profit, often in a short period of time: cleaned up during the bull market.
Idiom:
clean house Slang
To eliminate or discard what is undesirable: The scandal forced the company to clean house.

[Middle English clene, from Old English clǣne.]

cleana·ble adj.
cleanness n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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