cleanliness is next to godliness

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Proverbial saying, late 18th century; next here means ‘immediately following’, as in serial order, and is now often used humorously to mean, ‘the second most desirable quality possible’. An earlier related thought is found in Bacon's Advancement of Learning (1605), ‘Cleanness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.’

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