take someone to the cleaners

take someone to the cleaners

INFORMAL
If someone takes you to the cleaners, they make you lose a lot of money in an unfair or dishonest way. The feeling among many experts is that the price he paid was excessive. It sounds like he got taken to the cleaners. Just for a change, the insurers discovered that they had been taken to the cleaners. Note: This developed from the expression `to clean someone out', which has been used since the 19th century. People say that they have been `cleaned out' when they have lost all their money and valuables, for example through being robbed or cheated.
See also: cleaner, take

take someone to the cleaners

1. tv. to take all of someone’s money. The lawyers took the insurance company to the cleaners, but I still didn’t get enough to pay for my losses.
2. tv. to defeat or best someone. Look at the height they’ve got! They’ll take us to the cleaners!
See also: cleaner, take