Did you know?

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

clean up - 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.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyclean up
he/she/itcleans up
present participlecleaning up
past tensecleaned up
past participlecleaned up
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  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 meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

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