"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[klenz] /klɛnz/
verb (used with object), cleansed, cleansing.
to make clean.
to remove by or as if by cleaning:
to cleanse sin from the soul.
verb (used without object), cleansed, cleansing.
to become clean.
Origin of cleanse
before 900; Middle English clensen, Old English clǣnsian, equivalent to clǣne clean + -si- v. suffix + -an infinitive suffix
Related forms
cleansable, adjective
recleanse, verb (used with object), recleansed, recleansing.
uncleansable, adjective
uncleansed, adjective
well-cleansed, adjective
Can be confused
clean, cleanse (see synonym study at clean)
1. See clean. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cleanse
  • Flush the wound with water, cleanse with mild soap and wash the area thoroughly.
  • It aimed to cleanse the city's waterways of urban pollution in compliance with state and federal law.
  • The intense internal heat generated by his sort of yoga was meant to purify and cleanse the body.
  • Ethnically cleanse the land in order to become a majority.
  • The plants in turn filter the water and cleanse it before returning to the fish tanks.
  • Saliva contains enzymes that begin the digestion process, and help cleanse the mouth by washing away bacteria and food particles.
  • Moisturizers moisturize, fresheners freshen and cleansers cleanse.
  • Folk forms could cleanse culture of the artificiality that, he felt, was poisoning modern life.
  • BP can then buy back the subsidiary or subsidiaries in bankruptcy and cleanse it of these liabilities.
  • Cosmetics are products people use to cleanse or change the look of the face or body.
British Dictionary definitions for cleanse


verb (transitive)
to remove dirt, filth, etc, from
to remove guilt from
to remove a group of people from (an area) by means of ethnic cleansing
Derived Forms
cleansable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English clǣnsian; related to Middle Low German klēnsen; see clean
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 cleanse

Old English clænsian "to cleanse, purge, purify, chasten, justify," from West Germanic *klainson, from *klainoz (see clean (adj.)). Despite its modern spelling (16c.), it retains its Middle English pronunciation. Related: Cleansed; cleansing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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