make a clean sweep

Idioms & Phrases

make a clean sweep

  1. Remove or eliminate unwanted persons or things, as in The new owners made a clean sweep of the place, intending to replace all the equipment. This phrase replaced the much older (16th-century) general sweep. [Mid-1800s]

  2. Win overwhelmingly, as in Our candidate made a clean sweep of all the districts. This usage is most often found with reference to success in a sports competition or election.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Previous Definition: make a clean breast of
Next Definition: make a comeback
Words Near: make a clean sweep
More from
Synonyms and Antonyms for make a clean sweep
More from
Search for articles containing make a clean sweep Word FAQs presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

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