Word of the Day


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to get rid of things you do not need or want from your home or another place

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The verb declutter was first recorded in the mid 20th century. It is formed by adding the prefix de- to the verb clutter, which was derived from the associated noun in the mid 16th century. The noun originally meant ‘a clotted mass’ and the earliest verb meaning was to clot or coagulate. The current meaning of ‘to put too many things in a place so that it looks untidy’ dates from the 17th century.


Spring has traditionally been the time for a thorough cleaning of the house, whether to get rid of soot and grime that have accumulated over the winter months or for spiritual or cultural reasons. Cleaning and tidying up have moved on from being simple household chores, however, and become big business. Cleanfluencers post videos about cleaning and tidying techniques on social media, attracting millions of followers, while Japanese tidiness guru Marie Kondo has followed up her wildly popular books and videos on decluttering with a TV series in which she helps members of the public clear their homes of clutter.


“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
(Albert Einstein)

Related words

clean out, clear out, sort out

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.


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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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