free from dirt; unsoiled; unstained: She bathed and put on a clean dress.
free from foreign or extraneous matter: clean sand.
free from pollution; unadulterated; pure: clean air; clean water.
habitually free of dirt: Cats are considered clean animals.
characterized by a fresh, wholesome quality: the clean smell of pine.
free from all writing or marking: a clean sheet of paper.
having few or no corrections; easily readable: The publisher demanded clean proofs from the printer.
free from roughness or irregularity: He made a clean cut with a razor.
not ornate; gracefully spare; forceful and simple; trim; streamlined: a clean literary style; the clean lines of a ship.
complete; unqualified: a clean break with tradition.
morally pure; innocent; upright; honorable: to lead a clean life.
showing good sportsmanship; fair: a clean fighter.
inoffensive in language
or content; without obscenity.
(of a document, record, etc.) bearing no marks of discreditable or unlawful conduct; listing no offenses: a clean driver's license.
15. Slang. b.
not having a criminal record.
carrying or containing no evidence of unlawful activity or intent, as controlled substances, unlicensed weapons, or contraband: The agents searched the car for drugs, but it was clean.
(of a nuclear weapon) producing little or no radioactive fallout.
(of a document or financial instrument) free from qualifications or restrictions: a clean bill of lading.
free from defects or flaws: a clean diamond.
free from encumbrances or obstructions.
neatly or evenly made or proportioned; shapely; trim: a clean profile.
made without any unanticipated difficulty or interference: The bank robbers made a clean getaway.
23. Chiefly Biblical.
having no physical or moral blemish or carrying no taboo
so as to make impure according to the laws, especially the dietary or ceremonial laws: a clean animal; clean persons.
dexterously performed; adroit: a clean serve in tennis.
(of a jump over an obstacle) made without touching the obstacle.
Slang. having no direct associations, business interests, etc., that could prejudice one's official acts or decisions: The new governor is clean because he's sold his construction business and doesn't owe political favors to anyone.
Slang. without money or funds.
(of wine) having a taste that is unusually refreshing and smooth.
(of an anchorage, harbor, etc.) free of obstructions or hazards (opposed to foul
(of the legs of a horse) free from injury or blemish, as capped hocks, splints, or scars.
31. Foreign Exchange.
(of currency floats) not influenced by exchange-rate manipulation (opposed to dirty
in a clean manner; cleanly
: Nobody wants to box with him because he doesn't fight clean.
so as to be clean: This shirt will never wash clean.
Informal. wholly; completely; quite: The sharp carving knife sliced clean through the roast. In a year, he had gone clean through his inheritance.
verb (used with object)
to make clean: Clean those dirty shoes.
to remove or consume the contents of; empty; clear: She sat down to dinner ravenous and within five minutes had cleaned her plate.
to remove the entrails and other inedible parts from (poultry, fish, etc.); dress.
Slang. to take away or win all or almost all the money or possessions of (often followed by out ): The cards were marked and I got cleaned.
Metallurgy. to remove the seams from (a casting) by filing or grinding.
to delete intentionally the cancellation from (a postage or revenue
verb (used without object)
Verb phrases 42.
to perform or undergo a process of cleaning
: This kind of fabric cleans easily. Detergents clean better than most soaps.
to get rid of dirt, soil, etc. (often followed by up ): to spend the morning cleaning.
44. clean out, a.
to empty in order to straighten or clean.
to use up; exhaust: He had cleaned out his savings.
to drive out by force
to empty or rid (a place) of occupants, contents, etc.: Eager customers cleaned out the store on the first day of the sale. The thief cleaned out the safe.
Slang. to cause to lose all or almost all one's money or possessions.
Idioms clean up, b.
to rid of undesirable persons or features: They cleaned up the local bars.
to put an end to; finish: to clean up yesterday's chores.
Informal. to make a large profit: They cleaned up in the stock market.
46. clean full, Nautical. a.
(of a sail or sails) filled with wind; rap full.
(of a sailing vessel) with all sails full of wind; rap full.
47. clean house,
to wipe out corruption, inefficiency, etc., as in an organization
: It's time for the city government to clean house.
48. clean up one's act. act ( def 27 )
come clean, Slang. to tell the truth, especially to admit one's guilt.
Origin: Related forms
before 900; Middle English clene, Old English clǣne pure, clear, cognate with Old High German kleini (German klein small)
preclean, verb (used with object)
reclean, verb (used with object)
Can be confused: 1. clean, cleanse
(see synonym study at the current entry) ; 2. cleanliness
1. neat, immaculate. Clean, clear, pure refer to freedom from soiling, flaw, stain, or mixture. Clean refers especially to freedom from soiling: a clean shirt. Clear refers particularly to freedom from flaw or blemish: a clear pane of glass. Pure refers especially to freedom from mixture or stain: a pure metal; not diluted but pure and full strength. 7. legible. 11. unsullied, chaste, virtuous. 19. unblemished, flawless. 34. entirely, thoroughly. 35. scour, scrub, sweep, brush, wipe, mop, dust, wash, rinse, lave, deterge, purify, clear; decontaminate. Clean, cleanse refer to removing dirt or impurities. To clean is the general word with no implication of method or means: to clean windows, a kitchen, streets. Cleanse is especially used of thorough cleaning by chemical or other technical process; figuratively it applies to moral or spiritual purification: to cleanse parts of machinery; to cleanse one's soul of guilt.
1. dirty. 17. contaminated, radioactive. 35. soil.