Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
Clean vs. Cleanse
Is the difference significant, nuanced, or nil ?
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2013/03/24
9:29pm
RobertB
Member
Forum Posts: 427
Member Since:
2012/02/20
Offline
1
0

Are ‘to clean’ and ‘to cleanse’ exactly interchangeable? Is cleanse somehow more formal or spiritual ?  Maybe just pretentious  in many cases?

2013/03/25
6:55am
asusena Armenia
Member
Forum Posts: 68
Member Since:
2012/07/01
Offline

I think they are not. They can’t be exactly interchangeable, otherwise one of them would sooner or later die out.

In Oxford Advanced Learner’s Online Dictionary the verb “cleanse” has 2 meanings, whereas the verb “clean” has 4.  It entails that clean is more than cleanse, it means it’s used in a wide variety of contexts. The primary meaning of clean is “to make something free from dirt or dust by washing or rubbing it”, whereas that of cleanse is “to clean your skin or wound”. So, it can relatively be stated that cleanse is ‘narrower’ than clean.

As for its being formal, at first blush, cleanse does sound more formal. However, I think  the difference lies in meaning, not in register. 

2013/03/25
9:05am
Dick
Fort Worth, TX
Member
Forum Posts: 377
Member Since:
2010/10/19
Offline
3
0

They literally mean the same thing but there are connotations that differ.  Clean means something more immediate and superficial.  Cleanse means a deeper more thorough cleaning, often a complete cleaning; e.g. I will clean the garage but I am cleansing the house of every speck of dirt.

Another difference is that clean is almost always used literally but cleanse is often used figuratively as in cleansing your soul or ethnic cleansing.

These items I have mentioned are not hard and fast rules.  You will see them occasionally used exactly opposite from my description, but I believe these are the more common ways of using these words.

2013/03/26
4:07am
tromboniator
Alaska
Member
Forum Posts: 380
Member Since:
2009/08/18
Offline
4
0

Yes, Dick. I wrote several paragraphs on this, but you said it more economically. Thank you.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online:
3 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 772

Bob Bridges: 676

Ron Draney: 627

RobertB: 427

Robert: 393

tromboniator: 380

Dick: 377

samaphore: 319

dilettante: 287

Raffee: 238

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 608

Members: 2995

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3136

Posts: 16507

Newest Members: SnoringSnotty, Webbie39, kathy_b, isolda_m, michaelyaziji, bug free, Rach5150, SnoringNotes, reliability bathtub, eslrobert

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 828, Grant Barrett: 1425, EmmettRedd: 635, Glenn: 1600, timfelten: 0