9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[adj. klen-lee; adv. kleen-lee] /adj. ˈklɛn li; adv. ˈklin li/
adjective, cleanlier, cleanliest.
personally neat; careful to keep or make clean:
The cat is by nature a cleanly animal.
habitually kept clean.
Obsolete. cleansing; making clean.
in a clean manner.
Origin of cleanly
before 900; Middle English clenlich(e), Old English clǣnlīc, equivalent to clǣne clean + -līc -ly
Related forms
[klen-lee-nis] /ˈklɛn li nɪs/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused
cleanliness, cleanness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cleanly
  • If the administration had cleanly closed entire departments, she said, that would have been one thing.
  • Wood burning can be done cleanly, even in an open pit.
  • cleanly divided by the horizon line, this frame was shot half an hour after sunset.
  • Then the gases are ignited, burning much more cleanly than a typical smoky home fireplace.
  • The one who arrives late with the disheveled uniform and his hair parted cleanly down the middle-he's a closet pyro.
  • Washing our garments to keep them sweet is cleanly, but it is the opposite to real cleanliness to hide dirt in them.
  • He was thrown against a stone wall that ripped his right arm off cleanly at the shoulder.
  • Inside the gizmo, a network of grippers scurries up the line and ensures that it threads cleanly out the side.
  • In our limited surfing time, it handled complex sites cleanly.
  • It's effective, cool-looking, and breaks away cleanly when kicked.
British Dictionary definitions for cleanly


adverb (ˈkliːnlɪ)
in a fair manner
easily or smoothly: the screw went into the wood cleanly
adjective (ˈklɛnlɪ) -lier, -liest
habitually clean or neat
Derived Forms
cleanlily (ˈklɛnlɪlɪ) adverb
cleanliness (ˈklɛnlɪnɪs) noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cleanly

Old English clænlic "morally pure, innocent," from clæne (see clean (adj.)). Of persons, "habitually clean," from c.1500.


Old English clænlice; see clean (adj.) + -ly (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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