clear the deck(s)

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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 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

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

Informal
To prepare for action.
See also: clear, deck
References in classic literature ?
Barricading the cabin door, they broke holes through the companion-way, and, with the muskets and ammunition which were at hand, opened a brisk fire that soon cleared the deck.
It took us half an hour's hard labour, after that, before it was properly up, and then we cleared the decks, and got out supper.
He also said Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal's resignation has cleared the deck for the conclusion of the peace process and statute drafting.
Chidambaram has cleared the deck for over 10,000 Israel- made assault rifles for the CRPF, whose commandos are at the forefront of a massive push against Maoist extremists.
In a TURN TO PAGE 49 FROM BACK PAGE show of ruthlessness, Strauss has cleared the decks by first removing Peter Moores as coach and now turning his back on Pietersen.
THE Supreme Court on Monday cleared the decks for making the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu operational.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar had filed a plea seeking review of its January 6 order in which the apex court had cleared the decks for the couple's trial in the murder case by dismissing their plea to quash criminal proceedings against them.
FOUR Toon players made use of the exit door at St James' Park yesterday as Alan Pardew cleared the decks ahead of his final push in the summer transfer window.
Mills has cleared the decks this term at Tamworth with only six players remaining.
Once crushed by thinning margins, the region's CEOs cleared the decks, starting with bloated technology departments.
The losses are a bitter pill, but the Reds have cleared the decks and are now moving forward with purpose and vision -- and the club's money men should soon have reasons to be cheerful
Andy Melville has cleared the decks for the next generation of Welsh defenders by announcing his international retirement after 65 caps.
Moyes has cleared the decks by releasing a dozen players already and that will possibly loosen the purse strings for some signings or loan deals.
Friday's announcement by Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt, which came with the caveat that Morrison would have to sell 53 Safeway stores, cleared the decks for a new bid from the Bradford retailer.
The crew playfully threatened to throw her overboard as they cleared the decks.