Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

clean - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective clean pronunciation in British English /kliːn/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    not dirty

    Go and put on a clean shirt.

    nice clean towels

    clean and tidy:

    I like to keep the place clean and tidy.

    spotlessly clean:

    Everything in the house was spotlessly clean (=extremely clean).

    brush/scrub/sweep/wash/wipe etc something clean:

    Tom had scrubbed the floor clean.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      clean people and animals keep themselves and the places where they live clean

      Pigs are actually very clean animals.

    2. b.
      clean air or water has no dirty or dangerous substances in it

      Many refugees are living in appalling conditions, without clean water and proper sanitation.

      the clean country air

      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    not guilty of anything illegal or wrong

    an attempt by the government to project a clean image

    Why couldn’t the president send somebody with a totally clean record?

    I’ve got a clean driving licence (=I have not committed any driving offences).

    1. a.
      clean language or humour does not offend people, especially because it does not involve sex

      It was all good clean fun.

      keep it clean (=not say anything offensive):

      Keep it clean – there are children listening.

    2. b.
      fair and done according to the rules

      It was a good clean fight.

    3. c.
      informal not carrying anything illegal

      The police stopped him, but he was clean.

    4. d.
      informal no longer using illegal drugs

      Carter’s been clean for six months.

  3. 4
    clean smells, tastes, and colours are light and fresh

    The wine is clean and fresh, though with a robust flavour.

  4. 5
    a clean piece of paper does not have anything written on it
    1. a.
      a clean copy of a document has had all the mistakes in it corrected


used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play