clean Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “clean” in the English Dictionary

"clean" in British English

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cleanadjective

uk   us   /kliːn/
  • clean adjective (NOT DIRTY)

A1 not ​dirty: a clean ​whiteshirt clean ​air/​water Make ​sureyourhands are clean before you have ​yourdinner. Hospitals need to be ​kept spotlessly (= ​extremely) clean.

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  • clean adjective (HONEST)

C2 honest or ​fair, or ​showing that you have not done anything ​illegal: a good clean fight/​contest The ​judge took the defendant's clean record (= the ​absence of ​previousinvolvement in ​crime) into ​account when ​passingsentence. I've always had a clean drivinglicence. It was a clean tackle. slang not doing anything ​illegal, or not having or ​carryingillegaldrugs or ​stolengoods: The ​policebusted Pete last ​night, but he was clean.
  • clean adjective (NOT ROUGH)

having no ​roughedges, and ​smooth, ​straight, or ​equallybalanced: I've ​broken my ​leg, but the ​doctor says that it's a clean break, so it should ​healeasily. A good clean ​hit from Pietersen ​sent the ​ballstraight out to the ​boundary. What he ​liked about the ​car was ​its clean lines. I ​tried to make a clean cut, but the ​knife wasn't ​sharp enough.

cleanverb

uk   us   /kliːn/
A1 [T] to ​removedirt from something: I'm going to clean the ​windows this ​morning. You should always clean ​yourteeth after ​meals. Would you clean the ​fingermarks from/off the ​door? He ​asked her to ​help him clean out the ​stables. [I usually + adv/prep] to ​become clean: This ​carpet doesn't clean very well. I ​hope these ​bloodstains will clean off my ​shirt. [T] to ​prepare a ​fish or an ​animalkilled for ​food by ​removing the inside ​parts of it that are not ​eaten

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cleannoun [S]

uk   us   /kliːn/

cleanadverb

uk   us   /kliːn/
(Definition of clean from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"clean" in American English

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cleanadjective [-er/-est only]

 us   /klin/
free of ​dirt or other ​unwantedparts or ​pieces: Make ​sure you ​wear a clean ​shirt. Hospital ​rooms have to be ​kept clean. Clean also ​meansfree from ​harmfulsubstances, or ​pure: clean ​air/​water
honest or ​fair; not ​breakingrules or ​laws: "Let’s make it a clean ​fight," said the ​referee. Before his ​conviction for ​fraud, he had a clean ​record (= he had not been ​involved in ​crimepreviously). slang They ​searched him, but he was clean (= he was not ​carrying anything ​illegal or not ​allowed). Clean also ​meansmorallyacceptable and not giving ​offense: clean ​living a clean ​joke
complete: It’s ​better for both of us if we make a clean ​break and ​stopseeing each other.
new and not used: a clean ​sheet of ​paper
clean
adverb [not gradable]  us   /klin/
infml The ​bullet went clean through his ​shoulder and out the other ​side.

cleanverb [I/T]

 us   /klin/
  • clean verb [I/T] (MAKE NOT DIRTY)

to ​removedirt or ​unwantedparts or ​pieces from something: [T] Saturdaymorning is ​ourtime to clean the ​house. [T] You should clean a ​woundimmediately to ​avoidinfection.
(Definition of clean from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"clean" in Business English

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cleanadjective

uk   us   /kliːn/
honest and ​fair, or showing that you have done nothing ​illegal or morally wrong: a clean record/report/license Job ​applicants must have a clean ​commercial driver's ​license. He said the campaign's ​priorities will be "​education and clean ​government."
ENVIRONMENT free of, or ​producing no harmful ​chemicals or substances: clean energy/fuel/technology clean ​energy from ​renewablesources such as ​solar and wind ​power clean ​air/water/soil
have clean hands informal to have never been involved in a dishonest or ​illegalactivity: An ​audit proved that neither ​company had clean ​hands when it came to ​reportingprofits.

cleanverb

uk   us   /kliːn/
clean house informal WORKPLACE to take ​action to make an ​organizationoperate more honestly and ​effectively: Companies like to clean ​house between ​chiefexecutives, so as to give the newcomer a ​positivebase to ​work from.
clean out your desk/office/locker informal WORKPLACE used to tell someone they are being ​removed from their ​job: He was told to clean out his ​desk by noon.
clean up its/your act informal to ​start to obey ​laws or ​acceptedstandards of ​behaviour: There are still serious ​questions about whether the ​company has cleaned up its ​act since its $11 ​billionaccountingfraud was ​exposed.

cleanadverb

uk   us   /kliːn/
come clean to ​admit the truth about a ​secret you have been ​trying to ​keep: come clean about/on/over sth Corporate ​managers were criticized for not coming clean sooner about the company's ​plans to ​split.
(Definition of clean from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“clean” in Business English

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