One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Make things or an area clean or neat.‘he was in the kitchen, cleaning up’
- ‘After eating, both women and men engaged in the dancing and, before leaving, in the cleaning up of the area the family occupied.’
- ‘Several of the hosts were now cleaning up around the area and folding chairs and tables, to be put away until the next major event.’
- ‘She then hears them cleaning up their areas and leaving the room.’
- ‘Or is he taking on a very big job down there, as the president's viceroy for cleaning up that area?’
- ‘To some extent, the decline may reflect real progress in areas like cleaning up rivers and streams.’
- ‘Crews are doing what they can to try and clean up this area, but floodwaters remain a huge problem.’
- ‘After her work was finished, she cleaned up the kitchen area and returned to her room.’
- ‘I sat and slowly the crowd dissolved and soon there was no one there except the crew that was cleaning up the unloading area.’
- ‘On the lower end of the priority list would be identifying high interest areas and cleaning up the safety awards program.’
- ‘Brush and woodlots located near a vineyard can be a continual source of flea beetles and these areas should be cleaned up if possible.’
2informal Make a substantial gain or profit.
- ‘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.’
3Win all the prizes available in a sporting competition or series of events.‘the Germans cleaned up at Wimbledon’
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 masteryView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘Geraldton cleaned up at the recent WA Tidy Towns Competitions, taking out five awards.’
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