Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


The tips of their bills do come clean up to the base of the mother's mandibles.

If they come clean, well an' good, they git their original two shares.

Come on—come clean, as the detectives say—at least, in books.

Then suppose you come clean and tell the Cubs everything you know.

I'm going to come clean, not because I'm afraid of you, but because I'm going to clear up the girl.

He was poor, but with the never-failing well on Garrison Hill he could come clean as the richest to his prayers.

Would he come clean through the moil, winning honor and his place among men?

After some bargaining he finally agreed to phone his managingeditor and propose I'd "come clean" for twenty dollars.

Ye don't mean to say you come clean in here this stormy day to try and sell that farm to me?

And when you did come clean up here, why didnt you come to my shack and stay?


Old English clæne "free from dirt or filth; pure, chaste, innocent; open, in the open," of beasts, "ritually safe to eat," from West Germanic *klainoz "clear, pure" (cf. Old Saxon kleni "dainty, delicate," Old Frisian klene "small," Old High German kleini "delicate, fine, small," German klein "small;" English preserves the original Germanic sense), from PIE root *gel- "bright, gleaming" (cf. Greek glene "eyeball," Old Irish gel "bright").

"Largely replaced by clear, pure in the higher senses" [Weekley], but as a verb (mid-15c.) it has largely usurped what once belonged to cleanse. Meaning "whole, entire" is from c.1300 (clean sweep in the figurative sense is from 1821). Sense of "innocent" is from c.1300; that of "not lewd" is from 1867; that of "not carrying anything forbidden" is from 1938; that of "free of drug addiction" is from 1950s. To come clean "confess" is from 1919, American English.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.