Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
1. Literally, to scoop or scrape the fatty content off the surface of milk before it is homogenized. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cream" and "off." To make butter in the traditional manner, you first cream off the milk and then agitate it in a churn.
2. By extension, to take funds, especially illegally or deceitfully, from another source in small increments. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cream" and "off." The CEO has been accused of creaming money off from his employees' pensions funds to pay for his personal trips around the world. Many suspect that corrupt government officials have been creaming off the extra funds raised by the new taxes.
3. To separate and take the best part or element of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cream" and "off." The company keeps creaming off our best workers to work at their main branch in New York. It's pretty common for movie studios to cream positive quotes off reviews to use in their marketing, even if those reviews were not entirely positive overall.
4. To use a topical cream to remove something, especially makeup. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cream" and "off." Your pores are going to get horribly clogged if you don't cream your makeup off before going to bed.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.