make a clean sweep

(redirected from one made a clean sweep)

make a clean sweep

1. To initiate large-scale removal of unwanted people or objects, especially as a means of effecting or expediting change. In an effort to save the company, the board of directors is making a clean sweep of all upper management. The garage is such a mess. We need to make a clean sweep and throw all this old junk out!
2. To achieve victory easily and 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 senator made a clean sweep of the election, winning every county in her region. My team made a clean sweep at the national mathematics competition.
See also: clean, make, sweep
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

make a clean sweep

Fig. to do something completely or thoroughly, with no exceptions. The boss decided to change the direction of the company, so he made a clean sweep and fired all the top management. They made a clean sweep through the neighborhood, repairing all the sidewalks.
See also: clean, make, sweep
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

make a clean sweep

1. Remove or eliminate unwanted persons or things, as in The new owners made a clean sweep of the place, intending to replace all the equipment. This phrase replaced the much older (16th-century) general sweep. [Mid-1800s]
2. Win overwhelmingly, as in Our candidate made a clean sweep of all the districts. This usage is most often found with reference to success in a sports competition or election.
See also: clean, make, sweep
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.

make a clean sweep

COMMON
1. If someone makes a clean sweep of something, they win something very easily, or win a series of things. China have made a clean sweep of all nine titles in the event, with three more gold medals today. It was nice to see a British film make a clean sweep at the Oscars. Note: A clean sweep is used in many other structures with a similar meaning. The Italians look well placed to repeat their clean sweep of 1990.
2. If someone who has just taken up a position of authority in an organization makes a clean sweep, they make a lot of very big changes, for example getting rid of employees, in order to make the organization more efficient. When Don arrived he said he was going to make a clean sweep, but I didn't think he would go quite this far. Note: A clean sweep is also used in other structures with a similar meaning. There were rumours that he planned a clean sweep of long-time employees. True to expectations, he fired the managers, one by one. They're talking about a clean sweep of the entire cabinet. Compare with a new broom.
See also: clean, make, sweep
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

make a clean sweep

1 remove all unwanted people or things ready to start afresh. 2 win all of a group of similar or related sporting competitions, events, or matches.
See also: clean, make, sweep
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

make a clean ˈsweep (of something)

(informal)
1 remove unwanted things or people: The Prime Minister is expected to make a clean sweep of his advisers who don’t support the new policy.
2 win all the prizes, etc. that are available: Kenyan athletes made a clean sweep (of the medals) in yesterday’s competition.
See also: clean, make, sweep
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
See also:
Full browser ?