clear the decks

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
References in classic literature ?
The gunner had in the meantime orders to bring two guns, to bear fore and aft, out of the steerage, to clear the deck, and load them with musket-bullets, and small pieces of old iron, and what came next to hand.
The move into the Irish market by the two German discounters comes at a time of renewed pressure on the government to lift the 13 year old ban on below cost selling in the trade, which would clear the decks for a full scale price war between the multiples.
These recent developments constitute significant advances in MDI's development, and importantly clear the decks for MDI to concentrate its energies on the important tasks at hand," said Toombs.
He is one of a string of players set for the exit door as Spurs clear the decks this summer.
He said: "My departure helped clear the decks and I think it has been the best thing for Hearts.
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.
If everyone else is on holiday then take the opportunity to clear the decks.
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 idea is that you clear the decks and begin betting on the next.
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.
This year some companies will be closing for a fortnight off and I would hope that a special effort will be made to clear the decks and make any necessary payments in time for Christmas.
The dramatic boat explosion at a family wedding reception was engineered by executive producer Brian Park to clear the decks for new characters.