As clean as what?

In anticipation of the post on clean, I decided to say something about the idioms in which clean figures prominently, but chose only those which have the structure as clean as. The post As clean as
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In anticipation of the post on clean, I decided to say something about the idioms in which clean figures prominently, but chose only those which have the structure as clean as. This means that I am not going to make a clean breast of my errors, wipe the plate clean, or engage in other theatricals. My aim is much more modest: I want to call our readers’ attention to the unimaginably high number of similes of the as…as type in English. In 1918, T. Hilding Svartengren, a Swedish researcher, defended a dissertation with the title Intensifying Similes in English. The text of the dissertation appeared in Lund: a very thick and most useful book. Specialists know and use it, but references to it are rare. Svartengren excerpted similes from the OED and Joseph Wright’s The English Dialect Dictionary. He also cited some explanations from Notes and Queries and a few other sources, but the origin of the similes did not concern him too much. The material is inexhaustible. My database of English. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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