clean up(redirected from clean up one's act)
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?
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.
to win or earn a lot of money We cleaned up playing the slots at the casino last night. The computer giant cleaned up with its new, easy-to-use operating system.
clean up somewhere
to remove illegal or dishonest activity from a place Having more police on the street has helped clean up the city.
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]
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.