Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Clean vs. Cleanse
Is the difference significant, nuanced, or nil ?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2013/03/24
9:29pm
Avatar
RobertB
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 568
Member Since:
2012/02/20
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

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
Avatar
asusena Armenia
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 73
Member Since:
2012/07/01
sp_UserOfflineSmall 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
Avatar
Dick
Fort Worth, TX
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 451
Member Since:
2010/10/19
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

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
Avatar
tromboniator
Alaska
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 491
Member Since:
2009/08/18
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

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:
47 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 1072

deaconB: 743

Ron Draney: 714

Bob Bridges: 680

RobertB: 568

Robert: 508

tromboniator: 491

Dick: 451

samaphore: 312

dilettante: 287

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 611

Members: 3118

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3526

Posts: 18645

Newest Members:

Michael_1, Hazel041300, turn176, Pstawicki, PowerWriter, sendohtanugi, sandok321, Kate Ross, Ergoni, tzarnek

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 820, Grant Barrett: 1454, EmmettRedd: 838, Glenn: 1719, timfelten: 0