take (one) to the cleaners

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take (one) to the cleaners

1. To cheat or swindle one for a lot or all of their money. Despite its meaning, the phrase as used often does not refer to actual cheating. It was my first time playing poker at the casino, and the more experienced players definitely took me to the cleaners. The con man made a living taking people to the cleaners with his scams.
2. To soundly defeat or best one; to succeed over one by a wide margin. This young team is taking the veteran squad to the cleaners tonight.
See also: cleaner, take

take someone to the cleaners

 
1. Sl. to take a lot of someone's money; to swindle someone. The lawyers took the insurance company to the cleaners, but I still didn't get enough to pay for my losses. The con artists took the old man to the cleaners.
2. Sl. to defeat or best someone. We took the other team to the cleaners. Look at the height they've got! They'll take us to the cleaners!
See also: cleaner, take

take to the cleaners

1. Take or cheat one out of all of one's money or possessions, as in Her divorce lawyer took him to the cleaners, or That broker has taken a number of clients to the cleaners. [Slang; early 1900s]
2. Drub, beat up, as in He didn't just push you-he took you to the cleaners. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: cleaner, take

take to the cleaners

Slang
To take all the money or possessions of, especially by outsmarting or swindling.
See also: cleaner, take