A barbell clean and a kettlebell clean are two completely different movements, but both could fit this description:
CLEAN [barbell or kettlebell]: A power exercise with a quick transition between tension and relaxation that requires proper positioning of the path of the implement in order to successfully complete the lift with maximal efficiency.
Of the six fundamental Level I skills, the kettlebell clean seems to be the toughest exercise to “get” and perform proficiently. Part of the problem is applying too much tension and force production. Though these are important, they should not be the focus when first learning the clean. The trajectory and positioning of the kettlebell need to take precedent, otherwise too great an emphasis on power will throw off the timing and mechanics of the movement.
The kettlebell clean has been described as:
“a swing that ends up in the rack position.”
While I agree with this — especially regarding the kinematics of the movement (deep hip hinge into a strong and stable front rack position), the actual projection of force is a bit different.