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clean up - definition and synonyms


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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.



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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyclean up
he/she/itcleans up
present participlecleaning up
past tensecleaned up
past participlecleaned up
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to make a place completely clean and tidy
    We really ought to make a start on getting this place cleaned up.
    I’m going to clean up in here this afternoon.
  2. 2
    [transitive] to wash someone who is dirty
    Come into the bathroom and I’ll get you cleaned up.
    I cleaned myself up and got ready for dinner.
  3. 3
    [transitive] to remove pollution from a place or an industrial process
    We need a systematic plan for identifying and cleaning up waste sites.
  4. 4
    [transitive] to stop bad, unfair, or criminal behaviour in a place or activity
    Is there the political will to clean up the banking system?
    a campaign to clean up the city’s streets
  5. 5
    [intransitive] informal to make a lot of money
    He really cleaned up on the stock market.
See also main entry: clean


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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