clean up


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

clean up

1. To clean; to make a person or space cleaner or neater in appearance; to tidy up. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "clean" and "up." You really need to clean up your room. It's like a pigsty in there! Get me a sponge so I can clean this sticky table up. I'll clean up the baby while you take the stroller out to the car.
2. To obtain a lot of earnings, winnings, or desired goods (most often money) from a particular venture or action. I'm buying you dinner because I really cleaned up at the poker game last night! If our little invention gets mass-produced, we'll clean up! I cleaned up at the thrift store—look at all this neat stuff I got for five bucks!
3. To stop the practice of illegal or seedy behavior or activities in a particular place. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "clean" and "up." This part of town used to be dominated by the drug trade until the police were able to clean it up.
4. To easily attain victory (typically over an opponent). Half the players on that team were sidelined with injuries, so we cleaned up.
5. To refine something (such as a piece of writing) by removing errors, inconsistences, offensive elements, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "clean" and "up." I paid an editor to clean up my manuscript, and after that I got multiple offers! No radio station will play this song as-is—you need to clean it up a bit and remove the foul language.
6. To address, rectify, or complete something. You go ahead up to the room—I'll clean up the paperwork at the front desk.
See also: clean, up

clean someone or something up

to get someone or something clean. Please go into the bathroom and clean yourself up. I'll clean up the kids before we leave for dinner. Can you clean this place up a little?
See also: clean, up

clean up (on something)

Fig. to make a lot of money on something. The promoters cleaned up on the product. If we get this invention to market soon, we can clean up.
See also: clean, up

clean up

1. Also, clean out. Make clean or orderly, as in She cleaned up the cellar after the flood, or Dad said he cleaned out the garage. [First half of 1800s]
2. Also, wash up. Wash or tidy oneself, as in Do I have time to clean up before dinner?
3. Settle or dispose of, as in He cleaned up all the bills that had arrived during his vacation.
4. Bring to a certain standard of order or morality, as in This script won't do; we'll have to clean up the language. Applied to personal behavior, it also is put as clean up one's act, as in He'll have to clean up his act and obey the rules. [c. 1900]
5. Succeed, especially financially, as in We had fantastic luck at the races and really cleaned up. [Slang; first half of 1800s]
6. Also, clean up on. Defeat or vanquish, kill, as in We're cleaning up all the other teams, or With enough ammunition we could clean up on this pocket of snipers. [Slang; mid-1800s]
See also: clean, up

clean up

v.
1. To make someone or something clean, neat, or presentable: My brother stayed late and helped me clean up the apartment after the party. After I got home from work, I cleaned myself up for dinner.
2. To get rid of dirt, rubbish, or impurities: Volunteers helped clean up the oil spill. I cleaned the broken glass up before anyone could step on it.
3. To rid something or some place of crime or immoral behavior: The government promised to clean up the corrupt judicial system. The mayor cleaned the neighborhood up and made it safe for residents.
4. Slang To make a large amount of money, often in a short period of time: Investors cleaned up when the company struck oil.
See also: clean, up

clean up

verb
See also: clean, up
References in periodicals archive ?
Chicago Heights - Nicor's partnering with Bethel Community Facility, Bloom Township Senior Services, city officials and the fire department to conduct energy, health and safety inspections and perform outdoor clean up at the homes of senior citizens.
Bellwood - Volunteers will work with the Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County and perform safety and energy inspections and spring clean ups at the homes of families in need.
The event was one of a series of clean ups organised by the rangers, British Waterways and the Coventry Canal Society throughout the year in a bid to keep the canal a pleasant place.
EPA and 50 students from Henderson Middle School to sample water and clean up a portion of Peachtree Creek that they have "adopted.
Some of the other activities during the week will include sub-aqua clean ups and walk and talks for members of the public.
Activities may include education, wildlife and natural resource preservation or helping with school construction, beach clean ups, and wildlife habitat restoration.
After clean ups in Burnmoor Close and Wilton Lane, Operation WEB - Westfield Estate Blitz - aims to make it a dramatically cleaner part of town.
Other events include community clean ups, safety activities, fun activities and guidance sessions from local service providers.
JA's MPI Data Reconciliations range from initial project assessments to full scale clean ups.
Street Champions supports residents who want to help make improvements to their environment by organising clean ups bulb planting and other eco-friendly initiatives.
The gel eliminates messy clean ups and costly waste, while the applicator puts the gel precisely where users want it and reaches hard to reach and vertical applications.
We will join this effort to keep our community clean by implementing some of the many activities in the kit, such as community clean ups and recycling drives," said John Jackson, State Campaign Coordinator, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an organizational member of the Erase the Waste Community Advisory Council.
These representatives communicate environmental goals to the retail locations, organize environmental and community activities, such as neighborhood Green Sweeps, Earth Day clean ups, and restoration projects.