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1. A large-scale removal of unwanted people or objects to expedite change. In an effort to save the company, the new CEO made a clean sweep and replaced everyone in the finance department. Wow, the garage looks completely different after our big clean sweep!
2. A victory by a large margin, especially one in which the opposing side accumulated none or a very small fraction of the votes, points, etc., required to win. Used especially in politics. The election was a clean sweep for the senator, who won in nearly every county. My team achieved a clean sweep at the national mathematics competition.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a broad movement clearing or affecting everything in its pathway. The manager and everybody in accounting got fired in a clean sweep of that department. Everybody got a pay rise. It was a clean sweep.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
n. a broad movement clearing or affecting everything in the pathway. (Usually figurative.) Everybody got a raise. It was a clean sweep.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
clean sweep, (make) a
Get rid of anything or anyone old, extraneous, unwanted. The term often refers to new officeholders who are extremely zealous about making a completely new start. It probably came from the much older locution, “New broom sweeps clean,” quoted in John Heywood’s proverb collection of 1546 and repeated often over the years, but now virtually obsolete.
See also: clean
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer