from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Free from dirt, stain, or impurities; unsoiled.
  • adjective Free from foreign matter or pollution; unadulterated.
  • adjective Not infected.
  • adjective Producing relatively little pollution.
  • adjective Producing relatively little radioactive fallout or contamination.
  • adjective Having no imperfections or blemishes; regular or even.
  • adjective Not ornate or intricate; spare.
  • adjective Sharply defined; clear-cut.
  • adjective Free from clumsiness; deft; adroit.
  • adjective Devoid of restrictions or encumbrances.
  • adjective Thorough; complete.
  • adjective Having few alterations or corrections; legible.
  • adjective Blank.
  • adjective Morally pure; virtuous.
  • adjective Having no marks of discredit or offense.
  • adjective Fit for all readers, listeners, or audiences; not ribald or obscene.
  • adjective Honest or fair.
  • adjective Not carrying concealed weapons or drugs.
  • adjective Innocent of a suspected crime.
  • adjective Free from narcotics addiction.
  • adjective Showing no evidence of using banned or performance-enhancing substances.
  • adverb So as to be unsoiled.
  • adverb In a fair manner.
  • adverb In a clean or nonpolluting manner.
  • adverb Informal Entirely; wholly.
  • intransitive verb To rid of dirt, rubbish, or impurities.
  • intransitive verb To get rid of (impurities or dirt, for example); remove.
  • intransitive verb To prepare (fowl or other food) for cooking, as by removing the entrails or fat.
  • intransitive verb To remove the contents from; empty.
  • intransitive verb Sports To lift (a barbell) from the floor to the shoulders in one motion.
  • intransitive verb To undergo or perform an act of cleaning.
  • idiom (clean house) To eliminate or discard what is undesirable.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In a clean manner.
  • Quite; perfectly; wholly; entirely; fully: as, the dam was carried clean away.
  • Without miscarriage; dexterously; neatly; cleverly.
  • . Nobly; beautifully.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English clene, from Old English clǣne.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English clene, clane, from Old English clǣne ("clean, pure, chaste, innocent, unencumbered, unfettered, hallowed, clear, open, honorable, true, acute, sagacious, intellectual"), from Proto-Germanic *klainiz (“shining, fine, splendid, tender”), from Proto-Indo-European *g(e)lēi- (“gleaming”), from Proto-Indo-European *gel- (“to gleam”). Cognate with Scots clean ("absolute, pure, clear, empty") and clene, clane ("clean"), North Frisian klien ("small"), Dutch klein ("small"), Low German kleen ("small"), German klein ("small"), Swedish klen ("weak, feeble, delicate"), Icelandic klénn ("poor, feeble, petty, snug, puny, cheesy, lame"). Displaced Old English sȳfre ("clean, sober"), hlūtor ("pure, clear, clean, bright").


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