the act of clearing.
the distance between two objects; an amount of clear space: The bridge allowed a clearance of 37 feet at mean high water.
a formal authorization permitting access to classified information, documents, etc.
Also called clearance sale. the disposal of merchandise at reduced prices to make room for new goods: He bought the coat for half price at a clearance.
a clear space; a clearing: The house stood in a clearance among the trees.
Banking. an exchange of checks and other commercial paper drawn on members of a clearinghouse, usually effected at a daily meeting of the members.
Machinery. a space between two moving parts, left to avoid clashing or to permit relatively free motion.
the angle between a face of a cutting tool, as a lathe tool, and the work.
the clearing of a ship at a port.
Also called clearance papers. the official papers certifying this.
Medicine/Medical. a test of the excretory function of the kidneys based on the volume of blood that is cleared of a specific substance per minute by renal excretion.

1555–65; clear + -ance

clearer, noun
nonclearance, noun
preclearance, noun, adjective
self-clearance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
clearance (ˈklɪərəns)
1.  a.  the process or an instance of clearing: slum clearance
 b.  (as modifier): a clearance order
2.  space between two parts in motion or in relative motion
3.  permission for an aircraft, ship, passengers, etc, to proceed
4.  official permission to have access to secret information, projects, areas, etc
5.  banking the exchange of commercial documents drawn on the members of a clearing house
6.  a.  the disposal of merchandise at reduced prices
 b.  (as modifier): a clearance sale
7.  sport
 a.  the act of hitting or kicking a ball out of the defensive area, as in football
 b.  an instance of this
8.  See Highland Clearances the act of clearing an area of land of its inhabitants by mass eviction
9.  dentistry the extraction of all of a person's teeth
10.  a less common word for clearing

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1560s, "action of clearing," from clear (q.v.). Meaning "approval, permission" (esp. to land or take off an aircraft) is from 1944, Amer.Eng.; national security sense recorded from 1948; meaning "a clear space" is from 1788.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

clearance clear·ance (klēr'əns)
The removal of a substance from the blood, expressed as the volume of blood or plasma cleared of the substance per unit time.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
They say the clearance beneath the tracks often varies from that posted on the
  signs, sometimes by as much as an inch.
US citizen with an active security clearance at a secret level or eligibility
  to obtain one.
But since customs officers now actually check the paperwork, clearance takes up
  to three times longer.
Clearance items and overstocks in all of our departments.
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