Definition of clean in English:



  • 1Free from dirt, marks, or stains.

    ‘the room was spotlessly clean’
    ‘keep the wound clean’
    • ‘The town centre is so clean, free of traffic, filled with hanging baskets.’
    • ‘And every room was spotlessly clean, without odour or any sort of smell.’
    • ‘Make certain your barrel is clean and free of oil or dirt.’
    • ‘There was dirt under the usually clean fingernails.’
    • ‘As an adult she kept her homes immaculately clean, tidying, changing beds and scrubbing surfaces every day.’
    • ‘Everyone was polite to a fault, and the place was spotlessly clean.’
    • ‘Plastic should be reasonably clean and free of debris, such as twine and netting.’
    • ‘The stick will come out perfectly clean if the cake is cooked.’
    • ‘Let it sit for 3 minutes and blot with a clean cloth or tissue.’
    • ‘The source print seems to have been quite clean and free of dirt and damage, resulting in likely the best transfer you'll ever see.’
    • ‘The transfer is very clean, but the cinematography is average '70s horror.’
    • ‘Be sure the bottom of the tub is clean and free of any soap residue.’
    • ‘The water ran down her face and left a clean streak through the dirt and grime on her.’
    • ‘In this job you can choose which car is brought to your house on a Monday morning, fully insured, brimful with free petrol and spotlessly clean.’
    • ‘The architecture sometimes feels a bit stark and soulless, but it's clean and dust free.’
    • ‘Sometimes a brand new blank videotape of high quality will scrub the head chips clean.’
    • ‘Strain through clean, sterile muslin cloth and then drip through coffee filter paper.’
    • ‘Blot the stain with a clean cloth, and then pour enough club soda on the stain to saturate the fabric.’
    • ‘Wrap the burned area with a dry, sterile dressing or a clean cloth.’
    • ‘The film is surprisingly clean and free of dirt or scratches, and colors are vibrant and rich.’
    washed, scrubbed, cleansed, cleaned, polished
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    1. 1.1Having been washed since last worn or used.
      ‘a clean blouse’
      • ‘He never tried to pull her hair or toss her skirt over her head or get dirt on her nice clean clothes.’
      • ‘She took out her clean uniform, washed and pressed, and packed it in her grey backpack.’
      • ‘But once you emerged from the darkness of the cellar with a tub of clean wash and started hanging on the line, this was for all the world to see.’
      • ‘You take the clean clothes, the soft-soled shoes and the paper with the details of the interview.’
      • ‘Fill your sink with suds, mop away then rinse with a clean towel.’
      • ‘When she came over to the bed she saw that her clothes were not only neatly folded, but they were washed and clean as well.’
      • ‘The 18th-century mind preferred homely dirt and the occasional clean shirt to the terrors of cold water or the deep ocean.’
      • ‘Washed and with clean clothes and a hot hotel meal inside me, I felt like a new person.’
      • ‘I rinse my hair and grab a clean towel from a nearby towel rack.’
      • ‘I thought I'd keep it on while I ate thereby saving myself some time before work - time which is usually spent putting on a clean top/blouse.’
      • ‘Upon being hired, each janitor was given one shirt to wear at work, often a used one, and was responsible for washing and keeping it clean.’
      • ‘When I replace the clean cutlery after washing up, there's always some already there to give me clues about where stuff lives.’
      • ‘Drain the parsley, wrap in a clean tea towel and gently squeeze dry.’
      • ‘She opened a drawer of the vanity, finding inside clean rags to wash her face with.’
      • ‘They sat on the edge of the low shelf which served as a bench, scrubbed and washed and dressed in clean tunics.’
      • ‘Will kicked off his boots and changed to something clean and washed his face.’
      • ‘The writer was looking refreshed in a clean blouse and slacks.’
    2. 1.2[attributive](of paper) not yet marked by writing or drawing.
      ‘he copied the advert on to a clean sheet of paper’
      • ‘Shoving books onto the floor, I finally found a clean piece of paper and a sharpened pencil.’
      • ‘Then he fumbled for a clean piece of paper and began his record - first a list of species, then a tally of their numbers.’
      • ‘While I was re-writing it onto a clean piece of paper my dad came barging into my room.’
      • ‘When a pleasing arrangement is found, the pieces are glued in place onto a clean white paper.’
      • ‘The biggest thing that we do differently is that we don't start from a totally clean sheet of paper.’
      • ‘I grabbed it and flipped through the pages of poetry and drawings till I found a clean page.’
      • ‘It absorbs the color from the inks it blends, but is quickly cleaned with a couple of swipes on clean paper.’
      • ‘When he wiped his hand on a clean piece of paper, the image of Africa that appeared inspired his publisher to turn the hand into a series of lithographs.’
      • ‘A small printer nearest her computer began to absorb some of the clean white paper.’
      • ‘Start with a clean piece of paper there.’
      • ‘It has page 108 all to itself, and all that white space around it a terrible waste, in some cultures, of clean white paper.’
      • ‘I took out a clean piece of paper and a black pen.’
      • ‘He packs plants in cardboard boxes lined with clean paper and occasionally uses icepacks.’
      • ‘Until then, Scandinavian pine forests will continue to supply our demands for clean white office paper.’
      • ‘I stared at the notebook that was opened to a clean white sheet of paper on my pillow.’
      • ‘A wastebasket sat next to a stack of clean paper on the floor.’
      • ‘I have a clean, beautiful piece of writing paper sitting in front of me and I intend to write only beautiful things about myself on it.’
      • ‘I shall start over on a clean piece of paper when I have my proper brushes but I enjoyed doing this one immensely.’
      blank, empty, bare, clear, plain, white
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    3. 1.3(of a person) attentive to personal hygiene.
      ‘by nature he was clean and neat’
      • ‘Henry was fastidiously clean by the standards of the time.’
      • ‘They are by nature fastidiously clean and typically free from body odour and parasites.’
      • ‘People are far more likely to pick up happy-looking, clean people than dirty, hidden ones.’
      • ‘Her view, when he started school a year ago, was that he was small for his age and not very clean.’
      • ‘And no matter how sweet and educated and clean and smart she appears, she may be at risk and not know it.’
      • ‘Our girls are clean and healthy.’
      • ‘One of the men, relatively clean and civilized, approached us.’
      • ‘By these means, the virtuous mother could mold an unspoiled, respectful, neat, and clean child.’
    4. 1.4Free from pollutants or unpleasant substances.
      ‘we will create a cleaner, safer environment’
      • ‘There is the washdown to do which basically means that every bit of kit has to be washed with clean water to stop the salt eating away at it.’
      • ‘Now fish can be found in the relatively clean water.’
      • ‘It has been observed that during the rainy season, most water sources become polluted and clean water is hard to find.’
      • ‘It is environment friendly, modular, silent, needs no fuel, there are no emissions or pollution; it is clean.’
      • ‘Clean air, quiet streets and the rosy climate are good for children.’
      • ‘A large, yet relatively clean city, it carried a certain benevolence that took it a step above its more unsavory neighbors.’
      • ‘Sandanski has the lowest annual rainfall in Bulgaria and its air is remarkably clean and pollution-free.’
      • ‘As a non-smoker my lungs are used to relatively clean air.’
      • ‘By contrast, some countries with relatively clean air, such as Scotland and New Zealand, demonstrated high rates of allergic diseases.’
      • ‘In the marketplace, who would think to ask whether these fish came from a clean or a polluted river like this one?’
      • ‘Thanks to its quiet roads, clean air and cheap housing, it is now claiming to be the fastest growing town in Europe.’
      • ‘If you do get fresh concrete on your skin, wash it off with clean water.’
      • ‘Keep food under hygienic conditions and thoroughly wash uncooked vegetables in clean water.’
      • ‘This mingling of polluted and clean air is particularly evident from January to April of each year during the winter monsoon.’
      • ‘The water is one degree Celsius, but at least the normally polluted lake is clean enough to swim in today.’
      • ‘Here, we have peace and quiet, still nights, and clean air.’
      • ‘A worker who operates in a clean, safe and pollution-free atmosphere will certainly be happy.’
      • ‘Let us wish for a beautiful and clean earth without pollution in the future.’
      • ‘Adequate quantities of relatively clean water are preferable to small amounts of high quality water.’
      • ‘Despite being labelled as a fast growing city, the average man on the street expects that the city would be clean and free from pollution.’
      • ‘Helping the weevils was the relatively clean water flowing into the dam.’
      • ‘Wet ears were washed, first with clean water, then with disinfectant solution.’
      • ‘Have bowls of clean snow ready (or use a snowbank close to the house).’
      • ‘I hit the earth with a dull thud, and for a while I just lay there, savoring the feel of real, clean dirt.’
      pure, clear, fresh, crisp, refreshing
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    5. 1.5Relating to a diet consisting of unprocessed, unrefined, and nutrient-rich food, typically eaten as small meals throughout the day.
      ‘I'm amazed at how much energy clean eating gives me’
      ‘you have to eat clean foods to change your physique’
      • ‘I understand the appeal of having lots of convenient spots to duck into for a virtuous lunch or a quick, clean dinner—high on those swell Omega-3 fatty acids and low on the caloric excesses so common to restaurant food.’
      • ‘I figure if you can eat two healthy, clean meals a day and not feel guilty about moderately indulging on the third meal, you're doing pretty well.’
      • ‘With clean eating and hard work in the gym, my physique changed quickly.’
      • ‘My reasons for giving up meat will probably have more to do with wanting to have a healthier, cleaner diet than any moral objection to eating meat.’
      • ‘Modern techniques mean we can have nice, fresh, clean food all year round, at cheap prices, from the local supermarket.’
      • ‘Washboard abs come only with adequate resistance training, a clean diet and plenty of cardio.’
      • ‘The book introduces an alternative vision of a farm system that preserves the land, protects communities, benefits small farmers, and produces clean food.’
      • ‘I always eat good clean food—lots of chicken and turkey, and sometimes beef.’
      • ‘I decided to lose that extra 15–25 pounds by eating a clean diet, doing consistent cardio training, and going heavier with the weights.’
      • ‘The production of natural and organic foods is a virtuous cycle: You have to start off with clean land to grow grain for your clean breakfast cereal, or to feed to your clean chickens.’
    6. 1.6Free from or producing relatively little radioactive contamination.
    7. 1.7(of timber) free from knots.
      ‘the forester and the sawyer reject timber that is not straight and clean’
  • 2Morally uncontaminated; pure; innocent.

    ‘clean living’
    • ‘Absolved of our sins, we are once more made as clean as the day of our baptism.’
    • ‘We need to be morally upright, like chaste virgins before God, pure and clean.’
    • ‘Our center will provide a way for them to learn the art of clean, wholesome living and social responsibility.’
    • ‘But this must be done in sincerity, with the desire to be spiritually clean and pure.’
    • ‘I have forgotten what it feels like to feel clean and innocent, and I long to feel it, I long for my salad days, I long for childhood.’
    • ‘Praise the Lord the sun has come to wash us clean.’
    • ‘Now that I'm clean as a penny whistle, what else would I do for fun?’
    • ‘She looked so innocent, so clean that it was impossible to believe this creature evil.’
    • ‘Pain and regret cannot scrub me clean, no matter how much I wish it.’
    • ‘It is by self discipline and clean moral life that man can unveil the divine qualities in his personality.’
    • ‘I enjoyed communion, I told him, but I never felt like I was good enough, pure enough, clean enough to have it.’
    • ‘Thirdly, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses our consciences, so that we come before God in the happy awareness of being truly clean in his sight.’
    • ‘The people of the island were clothed in plain linen with a few pockets, and white dresses that looked innocent and clean.’
    • ‘And people enjoy having that emotion because it's a very clean and pure emotion.’
    • ‘Other advice: not to quarrel; to live a clean, holy life; to do good; to share with others.’
    • ‘‘I strongly reject the implicit suggestion that their party is morally clean,’ he said.’
    innocent, guiltless, blameless, clear, in the clear, not to blame, guilt-free, crime-free, above suspicion, unimpeachable, irreproachable
    virtuous, good, upright, upstanding
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    1. 2.1Not sexually offensive or obscene.
      ‘it's all good clean fun’
      • ‘Never has such potentially raunchy role-playing seemed like such good clean fun.’
      • ‘It was all good clean fun and a day many of the little people will cherish long after their Santa days.’
      • ‘The show promises to transport the audience to an era when humour meant good clean fun.’
      • ‘It's good clean fun for the kids and well worth a rental.’
      • ‘It's about time we resurrect the good clean fun in computer games because I am really tired of the blood and gore of 21 st-century games.’
      • ‘For good clean family fun, you just can't top it.’
      • ‘They always record a clean version or else dub it out in the mix.’
    2. 2.2Showing or having no record of offences or crimes.
      ‘a clean driving licence is essential for the job’
      • ‘Critics of the previous system also point out that in terms of escaping prisoners, the state escort service had far from a clean record.’
      • ‘He was known to Dutch police but had a clean record there.’
      • ‘She noted that the young man was unemployed and had a clean record.’
      • ‘He had never had an accident before and had previously had a completely clean driving record.’
      • ‘For those who still might think I'm a serial killer or guilty of other crimes, here is the proof I have a clean record.’
      • ‘I really need a clean credit record because I will be moving house again shortly.’
      • ‘But I've heard that I should check my credit report to make sure my record is clean.’
      • ‘In the interview, the guy never even asked to see my driver's license, or if I had a clean record.’
      • ‘Legal considerations such as the fact that the culprit has a clean record should not be used as mitigating factors, she contended.’
      • ‘With a clean credit record once again, I hope you will be able to arrange a loan.’
      • ‘Only those with clean records must be sponsored by the recruiting agencies.’
      • ‘They should also have a clean record with regard to offences such as murder, rape, robbery, fraud, arson and kidnapping.’
      • ‘Despite rumors here and there, she has a clean record.’
      • ‘He also has a full clean driver's licence with no endorsements.’
      • ‘Let's face it, when the first day of camp is drawing near, there can be a tendency to hire anyone with a clean record that seems reasonable.’
      • ‘The key is to build a backend that is capable of transaction processing as well as maintaining a clean record on necessary compliances.’
      • ‘Edmonton offers great insurance rates for anyone who's been driving for years, has held insurance for the same amount of time, and has a clean record.’
      • ‘But he said he had taken her age and previous clean record into account and imposed the community sentence.’
      • ‘It takes anywhere from five to 20 months to get a pardon and one must wait three years with a clean record before applying.’
      • ‘All successful applicants were police-checked and have a clean record.’
    3. 2.3Played or done according to the rules.
      ‘we are not completely sure that the elections will be clean and fair’
      • ‘On the final whistle, in this tight and physically hard fought, but clean game, both sides had to be content with a share of the points.’
      • ‘This kind of mentality has led many previously clean officials to try their luck before their retirement.’
      • ‘The body was set up by large sports centres and is intended to establish horse racing in Israel with an organised set of rules and a clean public image.’
      • ‘This game is what cup games are all about: spirit, fight, clean football and a little bit of heroism to round it all off.’
      • ‘Notwithstanding the fact that we are still a young democracy, the country can score more marks by politicians running clean campaigns.’
      • ‘Market economics and the rule of law demand clean government.’
      • ‘Put the same young officer in a clean station, and there's a very good chance he'll turn out to be an honest cop.’
      • ‘True to the formalities of leadership races, all the candidates stated they want a clean fight.’
      • ‘He has a relatively clean image, but there are concerns about his policies toward China and whether he can find enough capable people for his cabinet.’
      • ‘Buyers should ensure that the registration and tax papers are in order and the status of ownership is clean.’
      • ‘There are a number of them who are pure and clean, and are keen to keep the pride of being a police officer.’
      • ‘They were clean, capable and were supported by the people.’
      • ‘From the start, his clean image was substantially soiled because of a real estate speculation case his elder brother was involved in.’
      • ‘I would also like to thank the associations for fighting a clean campaign in this constituency.’
      • ‘We mostly adopted trade sales to maximize revenues, and they were generally clean, despite occasional slip ups.’
      • ‘Both parties walk away with a clean reputation and no animus toward the other.’
      • ‘We live in a clinically clean society with rules and regulations.’
      • ‘Anyone who wants to enter politics must now show that they are clean and that they have concrete and detailed ideas about improving people's lives.’
      • ‘However, he still believes that corruption can be curbed by setting up a clean system and strict rules.’
      • ‘But his wife sent back the fish to avoid rumours, and she wrote advising him to be an honest and clean official.’
      fair, honest, sporting, sportsmanlike, just, upright, law-abiding, chivalrous, honourable, according to the rules, according to hoyle
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    4. 2.4informal [predicative]Not possessing or containing anything illegal, especially drugs or stolen goods.
      ‘I searched him and his luggage, and he was clean’
      • ‘The tall guy was clean, and they told him to board along with the rest of the passengers and we had a safe enjoyable flight.’
    5. 2.5informal [predicative](of a person) not taking or having taken drugs or alcohol.
      ‘I had been here for only a fortnight and clean for three weeks’
      • ‘Later, after his mother was clean, she warned Jim ceaselessly about the dangers of drugs, warnings that he heeded.’
      • ‘I'm going to meetings every day and learning that when I'm clean, I'm a winner.’
      • ‘Although I have been clean for seven years now, the craving still remains.’
      • ‘I was clean for eight long years, before falling off last year while in Germany.’
      • ‘And for the first six months I was clean, but then we kept saying yes to more gigs, I started drinking too much and taking a bit of charlie, to get through it.’
      • ‘I've been clean for four years because I'm a mother.’
      • ‘In the future all I hope is that I stay off drugs and keep clean, get my children back, get my own house and a good job.’
      • ‘He was clean for two years after leaving jail - where he'd spent 12 years and gained a heroin habit.’
      • ‘Smith said the substance can be used to make drug tests come up clean and that he was taking it to his cousin.’
      • ‘This article is to tell clean people that they should avoid involvement with drugs.’
      • ‘I've made amends to my family; I bring them a lot of joy because I'm clean and I brought them sadness during my using.’
      • ‘In the old days, many people thought, if you can survive five years, you're clean.’
      • ‘My dad used to do drugs, but he has been clean for four years.’
      • ‘Once someone seeks help they need constant care until they are clean - and this must come with tolerance.’
      • ‘There is a perception among young people that cocaine is a clean safe drug - which it is not.’
      • ‘Nearly 78 per cent of the respondents claimed that they were not smokers, not on alcohol or drugs - a clean set.’
      • ‘We've got loads of drug counsellors but nobody is getting clean.’
      • ‘I had taken someone for quite a lot of money and these are things I've got to deal with today because I'm clean.’
      • ‘I've enjoyed it here and it's chapter one of my clean life.’
      • ‘Say the parents are clean and at least one of them is employed, but the couple still can't find affordable housing.’
      sober, teetotal, non-drinking, clear-headed, as sober as a judge
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    6. 2.6Free from ceremonial defilement, according to Mosaic Law or other religious codes.
      • ‘We need not worry about such things as ceremonial washings and clean and unclean foods.’
  • 3Free from irregularities; having a smooth edge or surface.

    ‘a clean fracture of the leg’
    • ‘Once you have the base removed use a smooth bastard file to make the edges nice and clean and free of burrs.’
    • ‘Some of the breakdown showed very clean fracture surfaces, looking very fresh.’
    • ‘Steel forms require more attention to ensure a clean, smooth surface.’
    • ‘They have been scoured and polished to such a smooth clean finish that scarcely one fine white thread of ligament remains between the joints.’
    • ‘Also, wires, especially for gas metal-arc welding, must have clean, smooth surfaces.’
    • ‘There's a fracture on the elbow area, and it appears that it's a clean fracture, so it looks like it will heal.’
    • ‘I got started and cut a clean, smooth curve along the front of the desk, surprising my dad, but not I.’
    • ‘Scissors should cut smooth and clean, right where you aim them.’
    • ‘They also can be washed to ensure that the next slab or tilt panel has a clean edge.’
    • ‘On the left is the smooth, clean surface of the new dam that has turned part of the Colorado River into a lake.’
    • ‘When positioning the drywall panel, align the top of each panel with the ceiling edge or the angle break to assure a clean edge.’
    • ‘The main objective of the wadcutter design is to cut a nice clean hole in a paper target.’
    • ‘Such a clean penetration could have been caused only by a high speed projectile, such as rifle bullet.’
    • ‘The patented coring tine cuts clean cores at the surface and shatters the soil below.’
    • ‘In addition, they create a clean edge to a planting scheme and disguise the unsightly lower section of many herbaceous perennials.’
    1. 3.1Having a simple, well-defined, and pleasing shape.
      ‘the clean lines and pared-down planes of modernism’
      • ‘The clean lines and the simple shapes are compelling in their quiet beauty and grace.’
      • ‘The only thing that breaks its clean lines is the paper tray, which drops open from the front of the unit.’
      • ‘That aesthetic would require clean, simple lines, and no fussiness.’
      • ‘Scandinavia: the home of everything pure, sleek, clean and earthy.’
      • ‘The cabin has clean, simple lines and seems very user-friendly.’
      • ‘They're very thin and delicate, with elegant slender stems and a simple, clean design.’
      • ‘You may roll your eyes at the design of these pages, but at least they're fairly clean.’
      • ‘Shapes are clean and simple, patterns bold and striking and details subtle but sharp.’
      • ‘The artistic style in some cases overshadows the writings, no matter how clean and legible the writings are.’
      • ‘Linen looks best in simple shapes, with clean geometric lines.’
      • ‘Inspired by the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, classic rooms have clean, simple lines and formal symmetry.’
      • ‘The pieces are simple, with clean lines and few projecting gadgets such as drawer handles.’
      • ‘The design of the paper was clean, if rather text-heavy.’
      • ‘The simple white walls and clean lines of the store, he says, have the effect of allowing you to see the products clearly.’
      • ‘This urban contemporary collection keeps things in perspective with simple forms, clean lines and subtle shapes.’
      • ‘He likes clean, simple lines but also creates interesting effects by using contrasting timbers such as walnut and maple.’
      • ‘She chose few pieces of furniture and selected items that have clean, simple lines, like the house itself.’
      • ‘The magnificent master bedroom is elegantly curved in shape, has clean sweeping lines and luxurious en-suite facilities.’
      • ‘The opening menu interface is clean with simple, well-delineated choices - go into the robot lab or go into the arena.’
      • ‘There's certainly nothing odd about his simple structure, with its clean lines and elegant agrarian forms.’
      simple, elegant, graceful, uncluttered, trim, shapely, unfussy, uncomplicated
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    2. 3.2(of an action) smoothly and skilfully done.
      ‘he took a clean catch’
      • ‘But he seemed to be taken by surprise and failed to make a clean contact as the other player was able to parry his shot at the expense of a corner.’
      • ‘In the musicals, the performances were very clean, and flowed smoothly and the acting was natural and often sparked laughter.’
      • ‘Leading up to the 9th frame of their title match, the two left-handers had bowled clean games.’
      • ‘The smooth, clean stroke is there, along with her glistening apprehension of sun and weather.’
      • ‘The windows are attached to the panel using rivets, which makes for a smooth, clean installation.’
      • ‘A clean catch and drive provided the platform for a march to the line and the winning try.’
      • ‘After a few minutes, she got the gist of it, and was making smooth clean strokes.’
      • ‘As far as his routes, he runs clean routes and can catch almost anything.’
      • ‘His clean movements cut through the waves, barely disturbing the surface; almost as if he were born to water and not the land.’
      • ‘It is important they get a good, clean catch as this may be the difference in taking a shot up or having to pass it.’
      • ‘Coming in at speed, he couldn't quite make a clean contact and the chance of crowning a superb move with a goal was gone.’
      • ‘And I'm always impressed how they manage to make kissing look so clean and synchronised in the movies.’
      • ‘It was a clean take-off, and he was airborne five minutes after starting his take-off run.’
      neat, smooth, crisp, straight, accurate, precise, slick
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  • 4(of a taste, sound, or smell) giving a clear and distinctive impression to the senses; sharp and fresh.

    ‘clean, fresh, natural flavours’
    • ‘This simple natural Thai soup offers fresh clean flavours that fuse the taste that is Thai cuisine.’
    • ‘The songs are washed in earnest clean rhythm guitar and nice, glimmering production.’
    • ‘The tamilok, its fans swear, has a fresh clean taste that sends shivers of pleasure down one's alimentary canal.’
    • ‘At its best it produces light to medium-bodied, crisp dry white wines with hints of apples, honey and yeast and a refreshingly pure and clean finish.’
    • ‘If only it had remixed the monaural soundtrack into something with more depth, but the audio is clean and clear in any case.’
    • ‘The clean, fresh tastes so lively and vibrant in the starters were nowhere to be had here.’
    • ‘The wash is clean, nicely acidic with a lovely limey mid-palate.’
    • ‘A good lemon tart should be gently set and lightly golden with a fresh, clean, lemony taste, rather than anything overly sour and overly sweet.’
    • ‘Their sound is clean and high energy and their performance is confident and sharp.’
    • ‘The taster monitors first whether the wine smells fresh and clean, or whether any off-odours indicate the presence of a wine fault.’
    • ‘Fresh fish should have firm, springy flesh, a clear color, a moist look, and a clean smell.’
    • ‘The stew was spiked with still-crisp bits of green pepper and onion, and had a clean taste of fresh vegetables.’
    • ‘Her voice is pure, clean, vivid, with the flexibility and colors demanded in Verdi.’
    • ‘The audio is clean and clear, conveying voices and sound effects with equal ease.’
    • ‘She had a clean, pure voice, only filled with oodles of emotion.’
    • ‘More gravel than flint, it has a clean, lime-tinged wash and a zesty finish.’
    • ‘Eating asparagus on the day it is picked is a truly special experience, the fresh clean flavour just sings.’
    • ‘This elegant and lithe New Zealand Riesling is crisp and cool answer, with a wash of clean lime and light nut notes.’
    • ‘Sydney's top ten rate among the best in the world if your tastes are for fresh ingredients, unpretentious culinary achievement and clean tastes.’
    • ‘The guitars plug in and the amps come to life with a clean thread of pure rock.’


  • 1So as to be free from dirt, marks, or unwanted matter.

    ‘the room had been washed clean’
    • ‘He'd scrubbed the tires clean before bringing it home so she wouldn't know he hadn't bought it new.’
    • ‘Beaches are giant blank spaces, washed clean every day, on which all sorts of hopes are projected.’
    • ‘With one hand, you pour the water and with the other, you wash yourself clean.’
    • ‘My hands are so stained with blood that all the rain in Heaven couldn't wash them clean.’
    • ‘I wondered if we could get far enough south for a warm rain to wash me clean.’
    • ‘Soapy wash bags are also great for scrubbing the kids clean, and softening the skin at the same time.’
    • ‘A good injector sprays fuel out as a mist and the fuel burns rapidly and relatively clean as the droplets are so small that they burn with a puff!’
    • ‘Before entering the Wellington's special care baby unit they had to scrub their hands clean and cover themselves in protective overalls.’
    • ‘My associate will make two copies of the judgment available to each side, so that you have one upon which you may annotate and one you may preserve clean.’
    • ‘The first task they were given was to scrub clean one of the barracks toilets and the pipe leading out of the wall which was disconnected from the septic tank.’
    • ‘It won't scrub your insides clean, but it may help and it feels good.’
    • ‘She stripped down to just a shift, scrubbing clean the clothes that she'd been wearing.’
    • ‘It disgusted me so much to even think about them that I ran to the washroom and washed them clean.’
    • ‘There is nothing like a morning under the brine to scrub clean a tired and mucky heart and head.’
    • ‘Bodybuilding itself could use a strong storm to blow through and wash it clean.’
    • ‘Once, he pressured someone into scrubbing his boots clean and moaned when he noticed one speck of mud on the bottom.’
    1. 1.1In a way that involves the consumption of unprocessed, unrefined, and nutrient-rich food.
      ‘plain oatmeal is a staple for anyone who's eating clean’
      • ‘I've always placed a priority on staying in shape, eating clean, lifting weights consistently and doing cardio.’
      • ‘If you're going to make the effort to eat clean and spend your precious time at the gym, at least train like you mean it.’
      • ‘You'll need to eat clean throughout the week: no fast food or processed foods and limited dietary fat.’
      • ‘Being body-conscious and eating clean can definitely test your willpower, especially at this time of the year.’
      • ‘Gearing up for competition meant eating clean and lean.’
      • ‘Eat clean whenever possible, but don't make too many sacrifices.’
      • ‘If you're already a dedicated bodybuilder, eating clean is part of your life.’
      • ‘I've always kind of been a jock, but the last year I really got into seriously eating six times a day, eating clean, being regimented with my exercising and my lifting and that kind of stuff.’
      • ‘I try to eat clean during the week.’
      • ‘Eight to nine months out of the year, he eats clean.’
  • 2informal Used to emphasize the completeness of a reported action, condition, or experience.

    ‘he was knocked clean off his feet’
    ‘I clean forgot her birthday’
    • ‘He got up, landed some nice shots then finished his foe with a ridiculous counter right hand that knocked him clean out.’
    • ‘So that was that - except that in the rush to sort out the mystery, she clean forgot to ask what emergency the fire engine was going to.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the wind picked up, knocking Jerry clean off his feet.’
    • ‘Global warming was right here, right now: and the idle daydream that it would just import Mediterranean sunshine had been washed clean away.’
    • ‘It knocked the Statue of Liberty clean off its pedestal before soundlessly swallowing her up.’
    • ‘He opened his mouth while he pulled one of his hands free from its pocket, and flicked his eyes clean across my face.’
    • ‘The ferocious second-half free kick which lifted him clean off his feet was impressive.’
    • ‘Shall we leave that until 1 o'clock over lunch or shall we adjourn early and get a clean start at 2 o'clock if this case progresses?’
    • ‘Other storeowners tell us that they're clean out of plywood - no more plywood left on the island to batten down the hatches.’
    • ‘He dropped to the floor and swept his adversary's feet clean away.’
    • ‘It knocked the victims clean into the air.’
    completely, entirely, totally, fully, wholly, thoroughly, altogether, quite, utterly, absolutely
    View synonyms


  • 1 Make clean; remove dirt, marks, or stains from.

    ‘clean your teeth properly after meals’
    ‘I cleaned up my room’
    ‘Anne will help with the cleaning’
    • ‘Have a dentist clean your teeth to get rid of tobacco stains and decide to keep them looking like that.’
    • ‘Always wash your hands or clean them with a hand-wipe immediately before and after eating a meal.’
    • ‘It can be easier to clean their teeth if you cradle your baby's head in your arms in front of you.’
    • ‘She also hopes to ensure that the district council's cleansing and amenities targets the shop area and cleans it of dirt, weeds and loose bricks.’
    • ‘You may be required to clean the property and tidy the garden before leaving.’
    • ‘I will stamp my foot until the city rises into the sky and the dirt and filth is cleaned away.’
    • ‘When we emerged, I grabbed some leaves off a nearby plant to clean the dirt off my hands.’
    • ‘You were to dust my bookshelves and wash the windows and clean the carpets twice a week.’
    • ‘Spyware protection software helps you to completely clean your computer of invasive threats.’
    • ‘With a cloth from the windowsill, he began to clean the crumbly dirt from his find.’
    • ‘My father has this bright idea that he's gonna clean it by washing it down and scrubbing it and vacuuming.’
    • ‘In short, show her how to mow the lawn, wash the car and clean the pool, and let her practise these chores until she does it as well as you.’
    • ‘She does my laundry, cleans my house, tidies up after me and empties the cat's litter box.’
    • ‘After refreshing up his information on the case, he had enough time to finish up his other reports and clean his desk.’
    • ‘It also makes it easier to properly clean the barrel from the breech.’
    • ‘Get up, make bed, get dressed, get books ready, brush hair, wash face, clean dorm and head for the dining room for breakfast.’
    • ‘People can't wash themselves or clean their places and this becomes a breeding place of diseases.’
    • ‘Gum disease happens when plaque builds up because the teeth are not cleaned properly.’
    • ‘The first conservation step is to clean the surface of dirt and loose accumulations with water and detergent applied under high pressure.’
    • ‘Use vodka, gin, or any pure alcohol to erase lipstick stains from your collar, or to clean paint or ink stains from your carpet.’
    wash, cleanse, wipe, sponge, scrub, mop, rinse, scour, swab, hose down, flush, polish, disinfect
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Remove the innards of (fish or poultry) prior to cooking.
      ‘there are a variety of ways to cook the herring, but it must first be gutted and cleaned’
      • ‘It spends a good portion showing how to clean almost every fish imaginable.’
      • ‘She sat down on the log and she just waited for him to carry on with cleaning the fish.’
      • ‘She said her boys had fishing rods, a net and knives to clean the fish they caught.’
      • ‘The answer greatly depends on how often a person cleans fish, how many fish they clean and the species and size of those fish.’
      • ‘Occasionally we'd give them to a neighbor, but my mother wouldn't clean fish so it was almost always a waste.’
      • ‘Ten minutes later, they began to gut and clean the fish.’
      • ‘He then took out his knife and proceeded to clean the fish, and this was a signal for her to go and set up the beds.’
      • ‘The day before the demonstration he beheads and cleans the gutted haddock, ties them in pairs and dry salts them for anything from one and a half to five hours, depending on their size and firmness.’
      • ‘Taking out a small knife, she began to clean the fish.’
      • ‘For another, the pier isn't an ideal place to clean fish because it lacks a table, running water and a garbage can.’
      • ‘Let the fishmonger scale, clean and gut the fish (I leave the head on).’
      • ‘Three hours later, we'll return to clean fish, fry fish and eat fish.’
      • ‘Even George, when he had taught her how to clean a fish, hadn't felt the same.’
      gut, eviscerate, remove the innards of, draw, dress
      View synonyms


  • [in singular] An act of cleaning something.

    ‘he gave the room a clean’
    • ‘‘The first thing we are going to do is give the whole place a good clean,’ said the new general manager.’
    • ‘I spent the morning tidying away the bits and bobs he'd left behind, but I'll do the real clean tomorrow when Oscar and his litter tray have gone, too.’
    • ‘To allow the work to take place, the service reservoir has been drained down temporarily, and engineers are using this opportunity to give it a routine clean.’
    • ‘Conservative councillors, who have been campaigning for a weekly clean, said they were dismayed by the decision and felt residents had been let down.’
    • ‘I did a zippy clean of the flat (it's surprising how much dust can settle when you're away for a week) and then they arrived.’
    • ‘If the mower is petrol driven, give the external moving parts of the carburettor a good clean with a tiny paintbrush dipped in petrol to ensure ease of movement.’
    • ‘For the quickest clean in every room of the house, choose from our favorite pairs.’
    clean, wipe, sponge, mop, swab, flush, scrub, hose-down, swill, lather, soap
    View synonyms


  • (as) clean as a whistle

    • 1Extremely clean or clear.

      • ‘I insisted Jon have a CT scan, a calcium scan, and he came up clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘All recordings have come up as clean as a whistle and the album is a fine memorial to another conductor who was so tragically short lived.’
      • ‘My music will never sound as well-produced as some techno record that sounds clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘After my digestive tract was clean as a whistle, and I looked like an extra from Schindler's List, it was time to get a look inside of me and see what was wrong.’
      • ‘The congreso (the local government) has a traditionally tight grip on the community, and like the other Kuna villages we visited, the place is clean as a whistle, with not a bit of trash in sight.’
      • ‘Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute's warning.’
      • ‘This property is clean as a whistle and move in ready.’
      • ‘More importantly for our purposes, the all-digital source material transfers to DVD clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘An abdominal computerized tomographic scan was clean as a whistle except for a fatty liver, and a gallbladder hepatobiliary scan also was negative.’
      • ‘The colors are crisp and clear, the picture as clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘Well no, but its excellent rollaway hood, complete with dinky peak, keeps you dry and clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘I think some actors probably find it frustrating, because he likes things clean as a whistle, unadorned, and unemotional, generally speaking.’
      • ‘The next morning your kettle will be clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘I noticed that it was brand new and clean as a whistle.’
      • ‘The production is clean as a whistle and as smooth as a newly varnished coffee table.’
      • ‘Technically, Owen Moriarty's playing is as clean as a whistle with tonally strong projection.’
      sanitary, clean, germ-free, dirt-free, disinfected, sterilized, sterile, antiseptic, aseptic, uninfected, unpolluted, uncontaminated, salubrious, healthy, pure, wholesome
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1informal Free of incriminating evidence.
        ‘the cops raided the warehouse but the place was clean as a whistle’
        • ‘This could result in a situation where you apply for, say, a personal loan, but get turned down for it even though your own credit report is as clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘Testing on samples from the suspicious cow is continuing but all tests done to date show that ‘she was clean as a whistle’, said the veterinarian.’
        • ‘His men have not been averse to the odd mistake or two, but for the most part yesterday - or at least for as long as it mattered - they were as clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘He is as clean as a whistle, so darn popular and a Christian to boot.’
        • ‘One of ITV1's most popular shows, The X Factor, opens its vote lines on Saturday and Sir Michael promised: "We are absolutely confident it will be clean as a whistle as a result of the Deloitte process."’
        • ‘Especially considering yesterday we thought this was one clean as a whistle kid, and then today we find out there was a very real possibility he was into drugs.’
        • ‘I'm not saying I was clean as a whistle back then, but I did learn to read music.’
        • ‘Are the other political parties immune to this disease and therefore as clean as a whistle in this regard?’
        • ‘But that does not mean the remainder of the existing commercial loan portfolio is as clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘Even if you're clean as a whistle, you're guilty by association.’
        • ‘Thereafter Abbey should have a business as clean as a whistle, enabling it to focus on its personal financial services side.’
        • ‘British agriculture on the whole is as clean as a whistle, compared to some other parts of Europe.’
        • ‘If he was clean as a whistle, would they be willing to do this?’
        • ‘Similarly, those seeking to control crime, and raise consequential consumer confidence, must appear to be clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘‘[This] is a blow-by-blow fight… in the trenches of bureaucracy,’ cautions Githongo, who is known to be clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘The computer is as clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘‘This is as clean as a whistle,’ Welch said in October at a press conference announcing the purchase.’
        • ‘So i arrive at the call and get to work, and what do you know there's a 40 gig hard drive, clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘As far as I can tell, Jeremy Luke's as clean as a whistle.’
        • ‘She's as clean as a whistle, but you, you obviously had something to do with this mess.’
  • clean bill of health

  • clean someone's clock

    • 1informal Give someone a beating.

      ‘I assured her that if anything happened I would personally clean the Russian's clock’
      • ‘And I don't think they saw him there, and they cleaned his clock.’
      • ‘Maybe I should invest in a hemp shirt reading ‘Don't knock my smock, or I'll clean your clock.’’
      • ‘I want names buster or I am going to come down there and personally clean your clock.’
      • ‘Speaking of Thanksgiving, some fool in a car almost cleaned my clock on my way in to work this morning!’
      • ‘I tried talking to him, he had nothin’ but mumbles, so I cleaned his clock with a solid left.’
      • ‘Then, when they meet a skilled person who is really trying to clean their clock, they may be disappointed in what they can actually pull out of their training.’
      • ‘The impact knocked me unconscious and from what I've heard, a few more bombs cleaned my clock.’
      1. 1.1Defeat or surpass someone decisively.
        ‘racing in this yacht he cleaned the clocks of the Regatta fleet’
        • ‘Although Ray played well, he and his partner could not beat a pair of high handicappers who almost cleaned their clock.’
        • ‘I heard that the new kid who just moved into the old dojo cleaned your clock.’
        • ‘I sorta’ threw the gauntlet down the previous year and made it clear I'd clean Dave 's clock on a stage or two if he had the guts to take me on.’
        • ‘He cleaned his clock in the French debate.’
        • ‘Sure we have taken some casualties, but the people we are fighting are criminals, terrorists, and punks and we are cleaning their clock.’
        • ‘Every so often, the enemy presents himself and at every instance he does that, we clean his clock.’
        • ‘As he became a dot on the horizon I reassured myself if I were his age, with his bike, with his quads, his parents and his Spandex I'd clean his clock.’
        • ‘Dad turned beet red, the whole café howled with laughter, and I proceeded to clean Dad 's clock for like the ninth straight week.’
        • ‘To me, there is nothing better - and I'm only talking about in athletics now - than absolutely cleaning someone's clock.’
  • clean house

    • 1Do housework.

      ‘they cleaned house, washed clothes, and cared for the children’
      • ‘Here's one more well-off woman playing at cleaning house while real women are out there struggling.’
      • ‘A man will do almost anything not to cook, wash dishes, or clean house.’
      • ‘Those who observed the tradition prepared for the holiday by cleaning house, buying new clothes and placing a dish of sprouted wheat, rye or lentil seeds in the window to represent new growth after a harsh winter.’
      • ‘Yard work, cleaning house and washing cars are good exercise.’
      • ‘Well, as nature cleans house, as it washes/blows away ‘excess’, or shakes at its core, or erupts the underground gases and lava, mankind must pick up the pieces and move on!’
      • ‘In most families, women care for the children, clean house, do the marketing, cook meals, wash dishes and clothes, and carry wood and water.’
      • ‘What about those few of us who don't find fulfillment in cleaning house?’
      • ‘I was duly dispatched to clean house for bourgeois wives in the suburbs who complained I was too slow, and a choirmaster who asked if I ever considered modelling swimwear.’
      • ‘I'd done pretty well, considering, and I'll get myself off to bed at a sensible hour so as to be up bright and early tomorrow to clean house before the heat turns up once more.’
      • ‘They earned a few pennies an hour, but that was more than they could make in the fields or cleaning house.’
      1. 1.1Eliminate corruption or inefficiency.
        ‘the president acted quickly to clean house when the allegations were made’
        • ‘Of course, he is keenly aware that corruption is so ingrained in the fabric of political life that trying to clean house could bring down the house itself, and that a sort of unstated amnesty could prevail.’
        • ‘He came to a club torn apart by in-fighting and cleaned house.’
        • ‘It is time to clean house, and in four years time if I am not happy with the way the Conservatives are running the country then I will work for their defeat.’
        • ‘The official party newspaper attributed the success to efforts to rejuvenate and clean house.’
        • ‘You, Sheila, are the perfect person to be the broom that cleans house in our sports establishments.’
        • ‘Unless he cleans house, his will be the Edsel presidency.’
        • ‘He added: ‘The president needs to clean house and wipe away the senior executives of the intelligence agency.’’
        • ‘He was determined to become the real head of the Intelligence Community and to clean house at CIA by eliminating deadwood and cutting costs.’
        • ‘Dozens of advisors to the late leader have been fired in a shakeup to clean house of corrupt administrators.’
        • ‘Now, most Japanese fund managers have cleaned house.’
  • clean one's plate

    • Eat up all the food put on one's plate.

      • ‘I took a tentative bite and then cleaned my plate.’
      • ‘It wasn't until I'd cleaned my plate that I thought to check if there were any adzuki beans.’
      • ‘I pack half the food away right then so that I can clean my plate without stuffing myself-and I have a meal for the next day.’
      • ‘I continued to tell her about the new policy they issued and just let the conversation drop at that point by cleaning my plate.’
      • ‘When I was growing up my parents would not allow me to leave the dinner table without cleaning my plate.’
      • ‘She ordered seafood enchiladas and cleaned her plate, an almost unheard of event and one for which I am always thankful.’
      • ‘I leave a lot on the plate because I need not clean my plate.’
      • ‘I cleaned my plate, to the point of taking a corn tortilla and mopping up the last cheesy queso smear.’
      • ‘If you aren't happy with yourself, you'll always be shaken by mom and dad telling you off for not cleaning your plate.’
      • ‘What gain comes from you cleaning your plate?’
  • a clean sheet (or slate)

    • 1An absence of existing restraints or commitments.

      ‘no government starts with a clean sheet’
      • ‘It is by no means apparent to me how the slate is wiped as clean as the Full Court would seem to suggest it was by the repeal effected by the Repeal Act.’
      • ‘So we're starting here with a completely clean slate.’
      • ‘In the circumstances it is not as though the respondents come here with a slate which is exactly clean.’
      • ‘Another clean sheet and maybe the odds will start tumbling.’
      • ‘If times stay bad, we think a relatively clean balance sheet could free up cash for better pursuits by management.’
      • ‘How would you, if you could start with a clean piece of paper, structure this thing?’
      • ‘On the other end of the spectrum, the captain of the Tampa has a completely clean slate.’
      1. 1.1(in a football match) prevent the opposing side from scoring.
        ‘Scotland kept a clean sheet against the Welsh’
        • ‘During the 1993-94 campaign he equalled the club record of 20 clean sheets.’
        • ‘I know as a defender I'm bound to keep banging on about the importance of clean sheets and staying tight at the back - but that's because it is.’
        • ‘Of the game itself, the manager was delighted with another clean sheet.’
        • ‘Hounslow were boosted by the return of Alistair Slay and James Kingston and kept their first clean sheet of the season.’
        • ‘Two clean sheets and back-to-back wins for the first time this season are a fair reflection of the difference Short has made to this Rovers side.’
        • ‘Leeds' other cause for celebration is the fact that this was their seventh clean sheet this season.’
        • ‘The man nicknamed ‘The Rock’ has been a revelation at the heart of a defence which has kept five clean sheets in the last seven games.’
        • ‘It was also the first home clean sheet since Barnsley on October 2.’
        • ‘Not for the first time this season, Rhydding were indebted to their back four for yet another clean sheet.’
        • ‘We have kept four clean sheets in our last five games and need to carry that on.’
  • clean up one's act

    • informal Begin to behave in a better way, especially by giving up alcohol, drugs, or illegal activities.

      ‘he planned to clean up his act, but in a last celebration bought some coke and heroin’
      • ‘Now comes the time to get real and clean up my act.’
      • ‘Now is the time to sift through those cluttered cupboards and clean up your act.’
  • come clean

    • informal Be completely honest; keep nothing hidden.

      ‘the Chancellor must come clean about his plans for increasing taxation’
      • ‘If the department wants transformation targets met, then they must be honest and come clean about this.’
      • ‘The question is, will it be done responsibly, by coming clean about the hidden liabilities now and taking the necessary, if painful, steps to deal with them?’
      • ‘She said he refused to come clean to the police, saying it would cost him his job.’
      • ‘Referring to her police interviews after her arrest, he told the jurors: ‘It is now apparent she was very far from coming clean in those interviews.’’
      • ‘They have no interest, my friends, in coming clean and being honest with the American people.’
      • ‘Even he finally comes clean with an honest assessment of his shipmates and it's not complimentary.’
      • ‘The highways authorities must come clean and tell all road users what is wrong, and what they are doing to put it right.’
      • ‘And I figured the only way to get him to come clean would be if I came clean first.’
      • ‘One cannot help but be impressed by this seasoned politician's adeptness at the art of coming clean without coming clean.’
      • ‘When is somebody going to come clean and reveal the real hidden agenda?’
      tell the truth, be completely honest, tell all, make a clean breast of it
      confess, own up, admit guilt, admit to one's actions, admit to one's crimes, admit to one's sins, accept blame, accept responsibility, plead guilty
      get something off one's chest, fess up
      View synonyms
  • have clean hands

    • Be uninvolved and blameless with regard to an immoral act.

      ‘no one involved in the conflict has clean hands’
      • ‘We are the only party that can come along and say we have clean hands.’
      • ‘Real institutions, real governments, and real leaders will never have clean hands in a dirty world.’
      • ‘I don't think many people have clean hands when it comes to bullying, and nor should we pretend to.’
      • ‘Perhaps she had forgotten that if you are going to preach, it is as well to have clean hands.’
      • ‘No region of the world has been spared it and very few people have clean hands.’
      • ‘If the applicant is seeking an equitable remedy it must come to court with clean hands and reveal the state of its financial house.’
      • ‘Neither side, however, can claim to have clean hands.’
      • ‘The truth is that politicians do not have clean hands to deal with it.’
      • ‘As a society, I would love to think that we are humble, righteous, and that our hands are clean.’
      • ‘But there are questions about the loyalty and integrity of this intelligence service that, after all, does not have clean hands.’
  • keep one's hands clean

    • Not involve oneself in an immoral act.

      ‘Franco kept his own hands clean by using others to impose his will’
      • ‘He probably did this all the time, watched innocent people die while keeping his hands clean.’
      • ‘But my cynical side says that the primary advantage governments see to legalizing the sale of needles is that it allows them to keep their hands clean.’
      • ‘It combines the childish fascination of gross toys with an adult sensibility that lets sober critics keep their hands clean.’
      • ‘You may throw it yourself or you may arrange for it to be leaked in a manner that will keep your hands clean.’
      • ‘This means they can keep their hands clean at all times.’
      • ‘You can keep your hands clean, or you can keep many more people alive.’
      • ‘But her desire to keep her hands clean of them was also, one suspects, an act of self preservation.’
      • ‘The philosophy seemed to be that you don't catch grubs by keeping your hands clean.’
      • ‘When the chips were down the game's governing body refused to get involved and preferred to keep their hands clean.’
      • ‘They believed you could be a key player in international politics yet keep your hands clean.’
  • keep one's nose clean

    • informal Stay out of trouble.

      ‘he tried to keep his nose clean with socially useful work’
      • ‘If you are not high enough up the business ladder, you take your wages, keep your nose clean, and you get in trouble if you waste a paper clip.’
      • ‘To get there, though, he must keep his nose clean.’
      • ‘But if you kept your nose clean and got on with your life, they left you alone.’
      • ‘It is not safe to play around when one is in the public eye, it always comes out, so if you want to climb higher in the political arena you need to keep your nose clean!’
      • ‘Deliver the essentials of municipal government, do not embarrass the city, keep your nose clean and we will re-elect you until the cows come home.’
      • ‘The defendant was given five months to prove he can keep his nose clean after a judge said she wanted to see if he could stay out of trouble.’
      • ‘He can continue to practice law but must keep his nose clean.’
      • ‘Sienna is a real threat because she's younger - and has kept her nose clean.’
      • ‘Now, you would have thought that right now he would be trying to keep his nose clean, steer clear of anything that could, just possibly, be misinterpreted as deception.’
      • ‘A judge promised to clean the slate after the Virginia Beach incident - provided he kept his nose clean for a year, which he did.’
  • make a clean breast of it

    • Confess fully one's mistakes or wrongdoings.

      • ‘I reckon you need to wipe the slate, mate, make a clean breast of it, so to speak.’
      • ‘Why don't they make a clean breast of it and say, ‘Look, ladies and gentlemen, we're really not dealing in news.’’
      • ‘But we will be demanding they make a clean breast of it as soon as possible.’
      • ‘Let's make a clean breast of it so we can start the day anew filled with love.’
      • ‘If any would care to make a clean breast of it, incidentally, we're willing to listen.’
      • ‘He makes a clean breast of it all to David, Helen's young friend from England who comes looking for salvation.’
      • ‘Tell all, make a clean breast of it, say what it is.’
      • ‘If he has had an extramarital affair, he ought to make a clean breast of it.’
      • ‘More than 10 years on, Jersey has finally made a clean breast of it.’
      • ‘I can think of no reason why you should not make a clean breast of it.’
      tell the truth, be completely honest, tell all, make a clean breast of it
      confess, own up, admit guilt, admit to one's actions, admit to one's crimes, admit to one's sins, accept blame, accept responsibility, plead guilty
      get something off one's chest, fess up
      View synonyms
  • make a clean job of something

    • informal Do something thoroughly.

      • ‘It may take some file edits as well to make a clean job of it.’
      • ‘If you don't know how to make a clean job of it ask a more experienced climber to help you.’
      • ‘Normally if its the rubbery tint you should be able to just peel it off without any problems, but if its the papery stuff you are going to have to go at it with a razor blade and some adhesive remover for a while to make a clean job of it.’
      • ‘Operations this season were to make a clean job of it, and salvage was small.’
      • ‘Here, pros discuss efficient ways to make a clean job of it.’
      • ‘The next moment he calmly placed his head on the block, telling the axeman to take good aim and make a clean job of it.’
      • ‘In the old days the nobility would tip the headsman to make a clean job of it.’
      • ‘So better make a clean job of it, and wipe him out at once!’
      • ‘However, the witches were not particularly preoccupied with making a clean job of things.’
      • ‘If you don't facilitate for fence construction during the wall install all bets are off on making a clean job of it after the fact!’
  • make a clean sweep

    • 1Remove all unwanted people or things ready to start afresh.

      ‘in 1917 many Soviet communists wanted to make a clean sweep of the discredited old order’
      • ‘Not exactly decisive behaviour from the people that are trying to make a clean sweep of things.’
      • ‘For a man with a broom wanting to make a clean sweep of city hall, one couldn't ask for a better place to start.’
      • ‘He made a clean sweep by removing all the interior walls and covering the outer walls and ceiling in white Venetian plaster.’
      • ‘Back in the heady dotcom days, it seemed as though online polling was poised to make a clean sweep of market research - revolutionizing the way companies conducted quantitative and qualitative research.’
      • ‘I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it.’
      • ‘The 1977 Act did not, however, accomplish a clean sweep of common law conspiracy.’
      • ‘No Government has so far succeeded in making a clean sweep of maladies affecting our police.’
      • ‘You lot make a clean sweep of the area.’
      • ‘The broom, for example, appears ready to make a clean sweep.’
      • ‘To get investors the best prices, it needs to make a clean sweep of barriers that impede trading.’
    • 2Win all of a group of similar or related sporting competitions, events, or matches.

      ‘Annadale are almost certain of making a clean sweep of the male athletics competitions’
      • ‘England were dreaming of the Grand Slam today after completing the third leg of a potential Six Nations Championship clean sweep.’
      • ‘Thus he made a clean sweep of all the events he participated in.’
      • ‘York and District Indoor Bowls Club enjoyed a clean sweep in the Yorkshire League, the Hebden Trophy and the North Eastern League.’
      • ‘It was Cooke's first appearance at the Sportcity venue since making a clean sweep of the national youth titles over seven years ago.’
      • ‘The people of Listowel made a clean sweep at a prize-giving event which recognised their efforts to improve the town's appearance over the past few years.’
      • ‘The Triple Crown also came as part of Wales' victory package amid a clean sweep of honours in European rugby's blue riband event.’
      • ‘Dundalk anglers made a clean sweep of the prizes in the Danes Cast Firshery's New Year's Day Competition.’
      • ‘Burnley turned back the clock to record a clean sweep of victories for the first time since the beginning of the season.’
      • ‘Zambia squash aces dominated the recently-ended East Africa squash safari circuit, by making a clean sweep of all three titles on the Kenya tour.’
      • ‘Royal College tennis players made a clean sweep at the Inter-School tennis championships by winning all six titles on offer.’
      come first, finish first, be the winner, be victorious, be the victor, carry the day, win the day, carry all before one, defeat the opposition, overcome the opposition, take the crown, take the honours, gain the palm, come out ahead, come out on top, succeed, triumph, prevail, achieve mastery
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • clean someone out

    • Use up or take all someone's money.

      ‘they were cleaned out by the Englishman at the baccarat table’
      • ‘I had five dollars in my pocket when I sat down at the table and they cleaned me out.’
      • ‘His visit is primarily intended to clean us out of food and drink, but I'm sure he'll find time to fit in a little lazing about between his gluttonous endeavours.’
      • ‘Although you might question the appeal of visiting a town dedicated to cleaning you out, you shouldn't write off Las Vegas.’
      • ‘Spend the same amount of time and money at the slots or the tables, and you could be cleaned out.’
      • ‘It wasn't your fault that your wife left, cleaning you out.’
      • ‘We cleaned them out at midfield but missed four goal chances.’
      • ‘And a lady, originally from Ireland, cleaned me out of tea towels.’
      • ‘Music students gearing up to make a bid for pop superstardom suffered a major setback when thieves cleaned them out.’
      • ‘I think they were cleaned out of balls, gloves and any little trinket that the kids could prise out of them.’
      • ‘They also took some electrical equipment that I'd got for my birthday and cleaned me out of all my gold.’
      bankrupt, ruin, make insolvent, make penniless, wipe out, impoverish, reduce to destitution, reduce to penury, bring to ruin, bring someone to their knees, break, cripple
      pauperize, beggar
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  • clean something out

    • Thoroughly clean the inside of something.

      ‘my mom says I have to go and clean out the hamster 's cage’
      • ‘Marie gently washed the shrapnel wound, cleaning out dried blood.’
      • ‘It took an hour a day to clean them out.’
      • ‘The pond was last cleaned out around 25 years ago.’
      • ‘I can do projects around the house, like try to refinish my front door, or clean out my gutters.’
      • ‘She also gave us some stuff to clean out her wounds with.’
      • ‘Still, the last wren around here nested in the dryer vent, which was a mess to clean out.’
      • ‘To make your sandpaper last longer, use an old toothbrush to clean out the clogged sandpaper.’
      • ‘The Council on Family Health offers some good tips on cleaning out the family medicine chest.’
      • ‘Cleaning a cupboard out, I noticed my 40 year old gold wedding ring had turned a very shiny silver colour!’
  • clean up

    • 1Make a substantial gain or profit.

      ‘Francis put three quid on a horse, figuring it was about time he cleaned up’
      • ‘A competent Democrat could clean up with a message to restore government for the people rather than for special interests.’
      • ‘He travels the circuit, pretending to be an ordinary joe, and then cleans up on bets and prizes because he has a great rock-and-roll voice.’
      • ‘Disinfectant companies have been cleaning up since the foot-and-mouth outbreak.’
      1. 1.1Win all the prizes available in a sporting competition.
        ‘the Germans cleaned up at Wimbledon’
        • ‘Geraldton cleaned up at the recent WA Tidy Towns Competitions, taking out five awards.’
        • ‘He cleaned up in the rifle competition by winning five of the six rifle matches in the champion shot competition.’
        • ‘City Arms added to their division one championship win by cleaning up all the competition trophies on offer.’
        • ‘In addition to their 3rd place trophies, this team cleaned up on the technical prizes winning three Near Pins and a Long Drive.’
        come first, finish first, be the winner, be victorious, be the victor, carry the day, win the day, carry all before one, defeat the opposition, overcome the opposition, take the crown, take the honours, gain the palm, come out ahead, come out on top, succeed, triumph, prevail, achieve mastery
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  • clean something up

    • Restore order or morality to.

      ‘the police chief was given the job of cleaning up a notorious district’
      • ‘The perverse effect, you have to conclude, is that these well-meaning efforts will only encourage the bookies: if people truly believe the game has been cleaned up there will be still more money to be made.’
      • ‘Conversations were cleaned up and no one eye-balled the waitresses.’
      • ‘By 1913 the tango had become a worldwide phenomenon, but had undergone further adaptation in order to clean it up.’
      • ‘In recent years, however, these roles have been reversed as crime rates in America have dropped lower and lower, and American cities have been cleaned up and made safer.’
      • ‘But by the 1990s, its image had been cleaned up as the Victorian buildings were restored and the old warehouse of the Merchant City transformed.’
      • ‘The owner of garages plagued by arson attacks and used as a drinking den has been ordered to clean them up or pull them down.’
      • ‘And the rank and file essentially went to the union and said, look, we've got to clean our act up, and we want to play on a straight playing field.’


Old English clǣne, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German klein small.