clean up

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See also: clean-up and cleanup


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clean up (third-person singular simple present cleans up, present participle cleaning up, simple past and past participle cleaned up)

  1. (transitive) To make an area or a thing clean; to pick up a mess; to tidy.
    Clean up your room.
    • 1946 May and June, “Notes and News: Special Services for the Welsh National Eisteddfod”, in Railway Magazine, page 188:
      Rhos station had been cleaned up for the occasion, and its single platform was gay with flags.
    • 2008 July 14, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Comics, Legendary Pictures:
      Mr Mayor, you were elected in a campaign to clean up the city. When are you gonna start?
    • 2013 August 10, “Can China clean up fast enough?”, in The Economist[1], volume 408, number 8848:
      At the same time, it is pouring money into cleaning up the country.
  2. (intransitive, idiomatic, colloquial) To become clean, handsome, smart in appearance, e.g. for a special occasion, especially when it is out of character to be seen as such.
    Synonym: scrub up
    He sure cleans up nice.
  3. (intransitive, idiomatic) To make a large profit; to win by a large margin, or to win a large amount, especially in gambling. Also clean house.
    Man, he sure cleaned up last night at the blackjack table.   The investors cleaned up when the stock hit the roof last year.
    • 2021 May 15, Phil McNulty, “Chelsea 0-1 Leicester”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      And for Rodgers, who cleaned up with Celtic in Scotland, this was another significant addition to his CV, as his expert guidance of Leicester - who are in a strong position to finish in the Premier League's top four and face Chelsea again at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday - now has a tangible reward in the shape of the FA Cup.
  4. (video games) To intervene in a fight between two players at low health and easily kill both of them or the winner.
    • 2020 June 23, Jackson Haime, “Becoming a Legend: 4 Easy Ways to Climb in Apex Legends”, in Medium[3]:
      The key here is to stop third partying and start cleaning up. Running to the first bullets you hear will only guarantee one thing, a fight. [] Cleaning up means only swooping in for the free kills. Is a fight over? Does Octane has his hands in a deathbox? That is when you take the zipline and catch them with their pants down.


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clean up (uncountable)

  1. Misspelling of cleanup.