"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 cleansing
  • That's because facial hair is more resistant to cleansing after exposure in a laboratory setting.
  • The faithful believe its waters are cleansing, but science tells a different story.
  • Then the students rated products, including cleansing ones such as soap or toothpaste.
  • The article said there could be no cleansing of soot in the upper atmosphere because rain falls below that point.
  • The filtering device should be self cleansing and notify the user when a new filter is necessary.
  • Coal is a great cleansing agent, its used in air and water purifiers.
  • She was a bureaucratic expediter of ethnic cleansing.
  • cleansing with paint thinner and isotonic saline solution was necessary.
  • And neither one allows for the cleansing effect of waves.
  • Water vapor does go away rapidly while it is cleansing the air as rain at times.
British Dictionary definitions for cleansing


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 cleansing

Old English clænsunge "cleansing, purifying, castigation; chastity, purity," verbal noun from the root of cleanse. As a present participle adjective, attested from c.1300.



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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