clean up

Idioms & Phrases

clean up

  1. Also, clean out. Make clean or orderly, as in She cleaned up the cellar after the flood, or Dad said he cleaned out the garage. [First half of 1800s]

  2. Also, wash up. Wash or tidy oneself, as in Do I have time to clean up before dinner?

  3. Settle or dispose of, as in He cleaned up all the bills that had arrived during his vacation.

  4. Bring to a certain standard of order or morality, as in This script won't do; we'll have to clean up the language. Applied to personal behavior, it also is put as clean up one's act, as in He'll have to clean up his act and obey the rules. [c. 1900]

  5. Succeed, especially financially, as in We had fantastic luck at the races and really cleaned up. [Slang; first half of 1800s]

  6. Also, clean up on. Defeat or vanquish, kill, as in We're cleaning up all the other teams, or With enough ammunition we could clean up on this pocket of snipers. [Slang; mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: clean sweep
Words Near: clean up
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for clean up
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing clean up
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature