clear the deck(s)

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clear the deck(s)

1. Literally, of sailors, to prepare for something (such as a battle) by removing or securing objects on the deck of a ship. That enemy ship is getting too close—clear the deck!
2. By extension, to cease doing something in preparation for a more important task or happening. I know you're busy with that paperwork, but clear the decks—I've got a big client coming in this afternoon.
3. To flee hastily; to depart quickly Uh oh, here comes mean old Mr. Jerome. Clear the decks, everyone! The staff cleared the decks when they saw the boss asking for volunteers to work on the weekend.
See also: clear

clear the decks

 
1. Lit. [for everyone] leave the deck of a ship and prepare for action. (A naval expression urging seaman to stow gear and prepare for battle or other action.) An attack is coming. Clear the decks.
2. Fig. get out of the way; get out of this area. Clear the decks! Here comes the teacher. Clear the decks and take your seats.
See also: clear, deck

clear the decks

Prepare for action, as in I've finished all these memos and cleared the decks for your project, or Clear the decks-here comes the coach. This expression originated in naval warfare, when it described preparing for battle by removing or fastening down all loose objects on the ship's decks. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: clear, deck

clear the decks

mainly BRITISH or

clear the deck

AMERICAN
COMMON If someone clears the decks, they finish what they are doing so that they are ready to start doing something else. The British commanders had wanted to clear the decks for possible large-scale military operations. Clear the decks before you think of taking on any more responsibilities. Note: In the past, all unnecessary objects were cleared off the decks or floors of a warship before a battle, so that the crew could move around more easily.
See also: clear, deck

clear the decks

prepare for a particular event or goal by dealing beforehand with anything that might hinder progress.
In the literal sense, clear the decks meant to remove obstacles or unwanted items from the decks of a ship before a battle at sea.
See also: clear, deck

clear the ˈdeck(s)

get ready for some activity by first dealing with anything not essential to it: We had been doing some painting in the dining room, so we had to spend some time clearing the decks before our visitors came round in the evening.
See also: clear, deck

clear the deck

Informal
To prepare for action.
See also: clear, deck
References in periodicals archive ?
His comments prompted speculation among Labour MPs that he was clearing the decks for a referendum as early as next summer, possibly on the day of the Assembly elections.
The Tories may be clearing the decks for a General Election on the second Thursday in October.
2) IDC, Worldwide Enterprise Instant Messaging Applications 2005-2009 Forecast and 2004 Vendor Shares: Clearing the Decks for Substantial Growth, Doc #34058 (September 2005), as cited by Akonix, 10/17/2005.
The Government should be focusing its efforts on clearing the decks - not rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
WORLD CUP-winning coach Jake White's three-year tenure as South Africa boss looks set to end in December - clearing the decks for England to pursue any potential interest.
1)Source, IDC, Worldwide Enterprise Instant Messaging Applications 2005-2009 Forecast and 2004 Vendor Shares: Clearing the Decks for Substantial Growth, Doc #34058 (September 2005)
Spurs were clearing the decks for Carrick's arrival yesterday as they sold Ireland international defender Gary Doherty to Premiership new boys Norwich and offered fellow centre-half Dean Richards to West Ham.