Does "NYC was cleared" mean "NYC was free from suspicion or guilt"?

The New York Times tweeted just now:

After a nearly yearlong battle, New York City was cleared to move dozens of homeless men out of an Upper West Side hotel. But the city said it would let the men stay there until plans for a larger move of over 9,000 homeless people takes place.


  • If you substitute the definition for the word, the sentence makes no sense. After a yearlong battle, New Yuck City was free of guilt to move…That is a clue that this definition can’t possibly be right. Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 3:18
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    There's a typical headline-writer's ambiguity here that's entertaining - you could read it as "NYC was emptied", which would of course move dozens of homeless men! Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 10:53

2 Answers 2


This is definition 52 of clear on dictionary.com:

to give clearance to; authorize

The city government was given authorization or permission to move the homeless men.


No, cleared means "Give official approval or authorization to" (Lexico). As stated in the article preview, it was the courts who made the decision to allow the city to do this. (Note that the original sentence is in the passive.)

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