Definition of clean adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kliːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kliːn//
    (cleaner, cleanest) Moral, Waste and pollution
    jump to other results
    not dirty
  1. 1  not dirty Are your hands clean? to wipe something clean The hotel was spotlessly (= extremely) clean. (British English) It is your responsibility to keep the room clean and tidy. (North American English) Keep your room neat and clean. I can't find a clean shirt (= one I haven't worn since it was washed).
  2. 2  having a clean appearance and clean surroundings Cats are very clean animals.
  3. not harmful
  4. 3  free from harmful or unpleasant substances clean drinking water clean air We all want a cleaner environment but who is going to pay for it? cleaner cars (= not producing so many harmful substances) Electric buses are a clean, environmentally friendly way to travel. See related entries: Waste and pollution
  5. paper
  6. 4  [usually before noun] with nothing written on it a clean sheet of paper
  7. not offensive
  8. 5  not offensive or referring to sex; not doing anything that is considered immoral or bad The entertainment was good clean fun for the whole family. Keep the jokes clean please! The sport has a very clean image. See related entries: Moral
  9. not illegal
  10. 6  not showing or having any record of doing something that is against the law a clean driving licence/driver’s license a clean police record
  11. 7(informal) not owning or carrying anything illegal such as drugs or weapons The police searched her but she was clean.
  12. fair
  13. 8played or done in a fair way and within the rules It was a tough but clean game.
  14. smooth/simple
  15. 9having a smooth edge, surface or shape; simple and regular A sharp knife makes a clean cut. a modern design with clean lines and a bright appearance
  16. accurate
  17. 10done in a skilful and accurate way The plane made a clean take-off.
  18. taste/smell
  19. 11tasting, smelling or looking pleasant and fresh The wine has a clean taste and a lovely golden colour.
  20. compare unclean
    Word OriginOld English clǣne, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German klein ‘small’.Extra examples I scrubbed the floor to get it clean. Is your room clean and tidy now? It’s almost clean. I just have to wipe the table. Please leave the kitchen clean. She wiped all the surfaces clean. The bathroom doesn’t stay clean for long. The room smelled clean and fresh. The water was lovely and clean. The whole house was spotlessly clean. You’re supposed to keep your room clean. Fiscal incentives will be introduced to encourage the use of cleaner cars. He wiped his plate clean with a piece of bread. I can’t find a clean shirt. It is your responsibility to keep the room clean and tidy. Keep your room neat and clean. Thousands were left without food or clean drinking water.Idioms (informal) very clean More Like ThisSimiles in idioms (as) bald as a coot, (as) blind as a bat, (as) bright as a button, (as) bold as brass, as busy as a bee, as clean as a whistle, (as) dead as a/​the dodo, (as) deaf as a post, (as) dull as ditchwater, (as) fit as a fiddle, as flat as a pancake, (as) good as gold, (as) mad as a hatter/​a March hare, (as) miserable/​ugly as sin, as old as the hills, (as) pleased as Punch, as pretty as a picture, (as) regular as clockwork, (as) quick as a flash, (as) safe as houses, (as) sound as a bell, (as) steady as a rock, (as) thick as two short planks, (as) tough as old bootsSee worksheet. a report that says somebody is healthy or that something is in good condition Doctors gave him a clean bill of health after a series of tests and examinations. The building was given a clean bill of health by the surveyor.
    1. 1a complete separation from a person, an organization, a way of life, etc. She wanted to make a clean break with the past.
    2. 2a break in a bone in one place
    a record of your work or behaviour that does not show any mistakes or bad things that you have done No government operates with a completely clean sheet. They kept a clean sheet in the match (= no goals were scored against them). (informal) to avoid doing anything wrong or illegal Since leaving prison, he's managed to keep his nose clean.
    make a clean breast of something
    jump to other results
    to tell the truth about something so that you no longer feel guilty He made a clean breast of everything and admitted taking the money.
      make a clean sweep (of something)
      jump to other results
    1. 1to remove all the people or things from an organization that are thought to be unnecessary or need changing The new manager made a clean sweep of the department.
    2. 2to win all the prizes or parts of a game or competition; to win an election completely China made a clean sweep of the medals in the gymnastics events. The opinion poll suggests a clean sweep for the Democrats.
    to agree to forget about past mistakes or arguments and start again with a relationship
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: clean