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1. To make clear or understandable. A noun or pronoun can be used between "clear" and "up." That tutoring session really cleared up my confusion about sine and cosine. How did two teens clear up a murder mystery that stumped the police?
2. To alleviate tension in a particular situation. A noun or pronoun can be used between "clear" and "up." The silent treatment isn't helping the situation between you two, so just talk to Betsy and clear this issue up already.
3. To heal an inflammatory skin condition, such as acne or a rash. A noun or pronoun can be used between "clear" and "up." That acne cream cleared up my skin practically overnight.
4. Of an ailment, to resolve or be resolved. A noun or pronoun can be used between "clear" and "up." The doctor thinks this new allergy medicine will clear my symptoms right up. It seems that my cold has finally cleared up, thank goodness—it's nice to get through the day without using a whole box of tissues!
5. To become clear or sunny, as of the sky after a period of clouds or fog. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is not usually used between "clear" and "up." It sure became a beautiful, sunny day once the sky cleared up!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
clear something up
1. to make something more clear. Let the muddy water stand overnight so it will clear up. A strong wind blew in and cleared up the smoke in the air.
2. to explain something; to solve a mystery. I think that we can clear this matter up without calling in the police. First we have to clear up the problem of the missing jewels.
3. to cause a rash or inflammation to return to normal; to cause skin to "clear." There is some new medicine that will clear your rash up.
4. to cure a disease or a medical condition. The doctor will give you something to clear up your congestion.
1. [for the sky] to become more clear or sunny. Suddenly, the sky cleared up. When the sky cleared up, the breeze began to blow.
2. [for something] to become more understandable. At about the middle of the very confusing lecture, things began to clear up. I was having trouble, but things are beginning to clear up.
3. [for a rash or skin condition] to clear the skin and return to normal. I'm sure your rash will clear up soon.
4. [for a minor illness] to improve or become cured. His cold cleared up after a couple of weeks.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Clarify, explain, solve, as in Let's try to clear up this misunderstanding. [Late 1600s]
2. Become clear, as in After the storm, it cleared up very quickly. [Early 1600s]
3. Return something to a normal condition, cure, as in This new salve will clear up your rash.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To remove obstructions, unwanted objects, or imperfections from something: Could you help me clear up the table after dinner? The allergy medication cleared my sinuses up.
2. To remove some obstructions, unwanted objects, or imperfections: Firefighters quickly cleared up the accident, and traffic returned to normal. When I got poison ivy, the doctor gave me a medicinal cream to clear it up.
3. To become free of obstructions, unwanted objects, or imperfections: My skin has cleared up since I started using that acne medication.
4. To go away; disappear: I hope the traffic clears up before I have to drive home.
5. To clarify something: This article should clear up some of the confusion surrounding my new theory. The origin of the artifact remained a mystery, and we hoped that the professor could clear it up.
6. To become more apparent or easily perceptible: As we discussed the issue, it began to clear up.
7. To become brighter and more pleasant. Used especially of the weather: We can go to the beach if the weather clears up.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.