clean sweep

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clean sweep ‎(plural clean sweeps)

  1. (chiefly politics) A complete or overwhelming victory, especially one in which all or almost all possible electoral contests are won.
    • 1989, Geoffrey Alderman, “Municipal Reaction and the Rise of Labour”, in London Jewry and London politics, 1889-1986[1], ISBN 9780415022040, page 70:
      In November 1928, as the beneficiaries of this revulsion, the Liberals made a clean sweep of every seat on the borough council.
    • 1992, Richard Heffernan, Mike Marqusee, “The Purge”, in Defeat from the jaws of victory: inside Kinnock's Labour Party[2], ISBN 9780860915614, page 296:
      By 1991 his constituency had made a clean sweep of all twelve local council seats, that's in part to Nellist’s high-profile efforts.
    • 2002, Robert P. Steed, Laurence W. Moreland, “A Victory for Valence Issues”, in The 2000 presidential election in the South: partisanship and southern party systems in the 21st century, Volume 2000[3], ISBN 9780275970208, page 37:
      George W. Bush made a clean sweep of the region once the dust had cleared from the Florida debacle more than a month after the election, adding 124 votes from elsewhere for a scrape-by total of 271 votes to claim the nation's highest office.
  2. (sports) The winning, by a person or team, of all the possible possible prizes, games, rounds or contests, etc in a competition, season or series.
    • 1992 January 1992, “Freddie is fastest in Miami”[4], American Motorcyclist, volume 46, number 1, American Motorcyclist Association, ISSN 0277-9358, page 38:
      Scott Russell, who had sewn up the Yokohama 750cc Supersport championship earlier in the year, completed a clean sweep of the series races with his ninth victory in Miami.
    • 2001 23 April 2001, “Tiger Wins”[5], JET, volume 99, number 19, Johnson Publishing Company, ISSN ISSN 0021-5996, page 55:
      He achieved a clean sweep winning four professional majors in a span of 294 days.
    • 2008 September 2008, “Chess”[6], Pratiyogita Darpan, volume 3, number 27, Pratiyogita Darpan, page 398:
      India made a clean sweep of medals in the boys’ under-12 and girls’ under 10 sections.
  3. A thorough change of policies, personnel or things, removing or replacing all or almost all of what was there previously.
    • 1907, Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent[7], ISBN 9780486419183, published 2001, page 46:
      You plan the future, you lose yourselves in reveries of economical systems derived from what is; whereas what's wanted is a clean sweep and a clear start for a new conception of life.
    • 1919, William Dudley Foulke, “CLEVELAND'S SECOND TERM”, in Fighting the Spoilsmen (Politics and People: The Ordeal of Self-Government in America)[8], ISBN 9780405058707, published 1974, page 96:
      These were unfortunate selections and Mr. Quincy, who had the consular appointments in charge, so made an almost clean sweep in that branch of the service, removing Republicans and putting Democrats in with “unprecedented vivacity.”
    • 1935, G. K. Chesterton, “The Return of Caesar”, in The collected works of G.K. Chesterton, Volume 3[9], ISBN 9780898703115, published 1990, The Well And The Shallows, page 511:
      The Totalitarian State is now making a clean sweep of all our old notions of liberty, even more than the French Revolution made a clean sweep of all the old ideas of loyalty.
    • 1994, Colin Baker, “Relationships with Officials”, in Development governor: a biography of Sir Geoffrey Colby[10], ISBN 9781850436164, page 119:
      [In 1951] Colby had an almost clean sweep of his closest official advisors.