clear the deck

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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 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

To prepare for action.
See also: clear, deck
References in periodicals archive ?
He is one of a string of players set for the exit door as Spurs clear the decks this summer.
One has to wage war and clear the decks before one can do good.
The revelations concerning MPs' expenses is still ongoing and we should wait until it is over before going to the polls; then we can clear the decks.
MILLWALL manager Dennis Wise is ready to clear the decks after paying pounds 750,000 for West Brom striker Scott Dobie.
WE are having to write off millions to clear the decks before Benitez can begin to make any signings.
The live gig will showcase some of the new album by The Players, Clear The Decks, as well as giving advice to bands.
Whitley has had a number of bust-ups with Keegan in the past - and his departure signals the manager's desire to clear the decks.
There are clearly contingency plans ready to spring into action in that event, but moves are already afoot to clear the decks and trim the wage bill a great deal further than has already been achieved.
The Spaniard becomes Walsall's eighth signing since last season's relegation as Graydon continues to clear the decks in preparation for the launch of their Second Division campaign.
A Dutch auction is being held for people to clear the decks of tat or treasure and have a laugh while they do it.
He said: "My departure helped clear the decks and I think it has been the best thing for Hearts.
If everyone else is on holiday then take the opportunity to clear the decks.