Cleanliness is next to godliness is a proverbial expression that assumes that keeping your surroundings tidy and neat makes you overall a better person.
The expression originally was used in a more literal sense, when religious people believed that being clean is favorable in God’s eyes. In recent times, the meaning has become more abstract, and refers to being tidy as a good personality trait.
The expression was invented by members of the British Moralist movement during the 17th century. The community believed in hard work and diligence, aiming to impress God.
Philosopher Sir Francis Bacon was the first to use it in English in his book, “In Advancement of Learning,” published in 1605.
Cleanliness is next to godliness was a popular proverbial expression initially in the Victorian Era, after which it completely vanished from literature for a while.
From the beginning of the 19th century, the expression began to rise again, and peaked in usage during the turning of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Today, cleanliness is next to godliness can sometimes be found online, implemented in image macro memes.
- Crosswalk.com – Is the Phrase “Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness” Biblical?
- Gotquestions.org – Is cleanliness next to godliness?
- Phrases.co.uk – Cleanliness is next to godliness