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mop something up
to clean up something, such as a spill, with a mop or with a mopping motion. Please mop this mess up. I will mop up this mess.
mop up(after someone or something)
1. Lit. to clean up with a mop a sloppy mess made by someone or something. I am the one who has to mop up after the mess you made!
2. Fig. to rectify a problem that someone or something has created. You made a fuss in the conference and upset everyone. I spent hours mopping up after you in private meetings with all in attendance.
1. Clear an area of remaining enemy troops after a victory, as in They left behind just one squadron to mop up. [c. 1900]
2. Perform the minor tasks that conclude a project or activity, as in Go ahead, I'll mop up these last invoices. [First half of 1900s] Both usages transfer the task of housecleaning with a mop to other kinds of cleanup.