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.
NEWCASTLE United are likely to clear the decks this summer and part company with Vurnon Anita AND Yoan Gouffran.
ARSENE WENGER will make a move for Porto's Colombian hot-shot Jackson Martinez - but only if he can clear the decks first.
Losing something good can clear the decks for even better options you wouldn't have considered while you still had a sure thing.
The losses are being seen as part of CEO Ross McEwan's efforts to clear the decks and draw a line under the matter, said an analyst at Jefferies international.
The long-awaited nod by the Indian government to clear the decks for a Jet Airways-Etihad Airways deal will be a sweet tonic for the Indian aviation industry, which is experiencing a slump.
So we have to a debate that no one - other than UKIP and the Tories' swivel-eyed Eurosceptic brigade - really wants so we can clear the decks for the debates that really matter.
What Goes Round I was driving-in my car Not too fast - nor too far I passed the - Talbot factory Or indeed the place - where it used to be Soon came the area - where they made the Stag Closely followed by - the birth place of the Jag Then I passed the Dunlop - tired and sad Forgotten industry - this city once had Don't forget the Dyers - and the Watchmakers And all the movers - and the shakers Remember Mr Starley - and his bike This land had never - seen the like Could be it's time - to clear the decks Industry will return - commerce will be next A new dawn - possibly warm and sunny Greed will ensure - drive makes money.
my view is that you would have had to clear the decks.
It may also take a big write-down on the value of assets as it looks to clear the decks for an incoming chief executive.
They're not expecting to make profit out of you, either - just to clear the decks.
The difference is that whileWenger will unashamedly clear the decks for several members of his youth team, the Spurs boss is more inclined to give his more senior reserves a runout.
If we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to clear the decks for five weeks of no eggs, no flour, no salt and no frying pans, what's left?
WE TAKE THE CRUNCH, THE BANKERS TAKE THE LUNCH We're all in this together So the politicians say The banks lost all the money So now we all have to pay I didn't risk my savings I just put them in the bank Reckless bankers made their millions And while they played my nest egg shrank To reward me for my prudent ways MPs have made it clear The money pigs have cleared the trough So I must work an extra year We all must work to sixty six I don't think that sounds great At least I make the cut off point Or be I'd working til sixty eight "We're all in this together" Roll up your sleeves and clear the decks We'll all work on for an extra year While bankers take more bonus cheques Ian Kenyon, Huyton
Will you make major commitments or will you clear the decks and start again?