clean ( cleaner comparative) ( cleanest superlative) ( cleans 3rd person present) ( cleaning present participle) ( cleaned past tense & past participle )
1 adj Something that is clean is free from dirt or unwanted marks., (Antonym: dirty)
He wore his cleanest slacks, a clean shirt and a navy blazer..., Disease has not been a problem because clean water is available..., The metro is efficient and spotlessly clean...
2 adj You say that people or animals are clean when they keep themselves or their surroundings clean., (Antonym: dirty)
3 adj A clean fuel or chemical process does not create many harmful or polluting substances., (Antonym: dirty)
Fans of electric cars say they are clean, quiet and economical.
cleanly adv ADV after v
Manufacturers are working with new fuels to find one that burns more cleanly than petrol.
4 verb If you clean something or clean dirt off it, you make it free from dirt and unwanted marks, for example by washing or wiping it. If something cleans easily, it is easy to clean.
Her father cleaned his glasses with a paper napkin... V n
It took half an hour to clean the orange powder off the bath... V n prep/adv
Wood flooring not only cleans easily, but it's environmentally friendly into the bargain. V adv
Clean is also a noun., n-sing
Give the cooker a good clean.
5 verb If you clean a room or house, you make the inside of it and the furniture in it free from dirt and dust.
With them also lived Mary Burinda, who cooked and cleaned... V
She got up early and cleaned the flat. V n
I do the cleaning myself.
6 adj If you describe something such as a book, joke, or lifestyle as clean, you think that they are not sexually immoral or offensive., (approval, Antonym: dirty)
They're trying to show clean, wholesome, decent movies..., Flirting is good clean fun...
7 adj If someone has a clean reputation or record, they have never done anything illegal or wrong.
Accusations of tax evasion have tarnished his clean image..., You can hire these from most car hire firms, provided you have a clean driving licence.
8 adj A clean game or fight is carried out fairly, according to the rules.
usu ADJ n
(=fair) (Antonym: dirty)
He called for a clean fight in the election and an end to `negative campaigning'...
cleanly adv ADV after v, ADV -ed
The game had been cleanly fought.
9 adj A clean sheet of paper has no writing or drawing on it.
usu ADJ n
Take a clean sheet of paper and down the left-hand side make a list.
10 adj If you make a clean break or start, you end a situation completely and start again in a different way.
She wanted to make a clean break from her mother and father.
11 adv Clean is used to emphasize that something was done completely.
INFORMAL usu ADV prep/adv, also ADV before v (emphasis)
It burned clean through the seat of my overalls..., I clean forgot everything I had prepared.
12 adj You can describe an action as clean to indicate that it is carried out simply and quickly without mistakes.
usu ADJ n (Antonym: messy)
They were more concerned about the dogs' welfare than a clean getaway...
cleanly adv ADV after v, ADV -ed
I struck the ball cleanly and my shot was on target.
13 If you come cleanabout something that you have been keeping secret, you admit it or tell people about it.
to phrase V inflects, oft PHR about/on n
It would be better if you come clean about it and let her know what kind of man she is seeing.
to clean up your act
to keep your nose clean
a clean slate
to wipe the slate clean
a clean sweep
clean as a whistle
whistle clean out
1 phrasal verb If you clean out something such as a cupboard, room, or container, you take everything out of it and clean the inside of it thoroughly.
Mr. Wall asked if I would help him clean out the bins... V P n (not pron)
If you are using the same pan, clean it out. V n P
2 phrasal verb If someone cleans you out, they take all the money and valuables you have. If they clean out a place, they take everything of value that is in it.
INFORMAL I'm sure the burglars waited until my insurance claim was through and came back to clean me out again... V n P
When they first captured the port, they virtually cleaned out its warehouses. V P n (not pron) clean up
1 phrasal verb If you clean up a mess or clean up a place where there is a mess, you make things tidy and free of dirt again.
Police in the city have been cleaning up the debris left by a day of violent confrontation... V P n (not pron)
Nina and Mary were in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner. V P
2 phrasal verb To clean up something such as the environment or an industrial process means to make it free from substances or processes that cause pollution.
Under pressure from the public, many regional governments cleaned up their beaches. V P n (not pron)
3 phrasal verb If the police or authorities clean up a place or area of activity, they make it free from crime, corruption, and other unacceptable forms of behaviour.
After years of neglect and decline the city was cleaning itself up... V n P
Since then, the authorities have tried to clean up the sport. V P n (not pron)
4 phrasal verb If you go and clean up , you make yourself clean and tidy, especially after doing something that has made you dirty.
Johnny, go inside and get cleaned up... V P
I cleaned myself up a bit, and got the baby ready. V pron-refl P
5 phrasal verb If someone cleans up, they make a large profit or get a lot of money. INFORMAL It has cleaned up at the box office. V P clean up after phrasal verb If you clean up after someone, you clean or tidy a place that they have made dirty or untidy. At the end, he nursed Lilly and cleaned up after her without minding. V P P n
Someone, especially a boy or man, who is clean-cut has a neat, tidy appearance. adj
...his clean-cut good looks.
If a man is clean-shaven, he does not have a beard or a moustache. adj
clean-up ( clean-ups plural )
in AM, use cleanup A clean-up is the removing of dirt, pollution, crime, or corruption from somewhere. n-count
...the need for a clean-up of Italian institutions..., The Governor has now called in the National Guard to assist the cleanup operation.
dry-clean ( dry-cleans 3rd person present) ( dry-cleaning present participle) ( dry-cleaned past tense & past participle ) When things such as clothes are dry-cleaned, they are cleaned with a liquid chemical rather than with water. verb usu passive
Natural-filled duvets must be dry-cleaned by a professional. be V-ed
spring-clean ( spring-cleans 3rd person present) ( spring-cleaning present participle) ( spring-cleaned past tense & past participle ) When you spring-clean a house, you thoroughly clean everything in it. verb
It's almost as easy these days to give your rooms a new coat of paint as it is to spring-clean them. V n
squeaky clean , squeaky-clean
If you say that someone is squeaky clean, you mean that they live a very moral life and have never done anything wrong.
Maybe this guy isn't so squeaky clean after all.