deadwood

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cut the deadwood out

1. Literally, to prune the dead parts of a tree, bush, or plant. Your plant might bloom again if you cut the deadwood out.
2. To eliminate or remove one who is ineffective and unproductive. Based on these consistently low numbers, it's time to cut the deadwood out of your department.
See also: cut, deadwood, out

deadwood

1. Literally, the dead parts of a tree, bush, or plant. Your plant might bloom again if you cut the deadwood out.
2. Those who are ineffective and unproductive. Based on these consistently low numbers, there's a lot of deadwood in that department.
3. In bowling, fallen pins that have yet to be cleared from the lane. It's my turn, as soon as the deadwood gets cleared.

cut the deadwood out

 
1. Lit. to prune away and remove the dead branches from a tree or bush. They cut a lot of the deadwood out to save the tree. You have to cut out the deadwood to make room for new growth.
2. Fig. to remove unproductive persons from employment. This company would be more profitable if management would cut out the deadwood. When we cut the deadwood out, all our departments will run more smoothly.
See also: cut, deadwood, out

deadwood

n. nonproductive or nonfunctional persons. We’ll have to cut costs by getting rid of the deadwood.
References in classic literature ?
Oh, good-licks; are you in real dead-wood earnest, Tom?
Well, then, you can build a fireplace with a few stones; there's plenty of dry dead-wood, and I can make the hot coals tell in a few minutes.
We have to admit that when the then Labour government demanded that we set up 'health and safety' departments, we saw it as an easy way of getting rid of our dead-wood who were never going to make the grade in the position they were recruited for; we soon realised what we had done when the government gave them the authority to make decisions that they were equally unqualified to make.
That could be a problem in Europe, where the study says there is a critical lack of dead-wood, according to a story on the report in Environment magazine.
If there were fewer dead-wood reactionaries like him, the churches wouldn't have lost their congregations in droves.
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