take (one) to the cleaners

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take (one) to the cleaners

1. To cheat or swindle one for a lot or all of their money. Despite its meaning, the phrase as used often does not refer to actual cheating. It was my first time playing poker at the casino, and the more experienced players definitely took me to the cleaners. The con man made a living taking people to the cleaners with his scams.
2. To soundly defeat or best one; to succeed over one by a wide margin. This young team is taking the veteran squad to the cleaners tonight.
See also: cleaner, take
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

take someone to the cleaners

 
1. Sl. to take a lot of someone's money; to swindle someone. The lawyers took the insurance company to the cleaners, but I still didn't get enough to pay for my losses. The con artists took the old man to the cleaners.
2. Sl. to defeat or best someone. We took the other team to the cleaners. Look at the height they've got! They'll take us to the cleaners!
See also: cleaner, take
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

take to the cleaners

1. Take or cheat one out of all of one's money or possessions, as in Her divorce lawyer took him to the cleaners, or That broker has taken a number of clients to the cleaners. [Slang; early 1900s]
2. Drub, beat up, as in He didn't just push you-he took you to the cleaners. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: cleaner, take
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

take someone to the cleaners

INFORMAL
If someone takes you to the cleaners, they make you lose a lot of money in an unfair or dishonest way. The feeling among many experts is that the price he paid was excessive. It sounds like he got taken to the cleaners. Just for a change, the insurers discovered that they had been taken to the cleaners. Note: This developed from the expression `to clean someone out', which has been used since the 19th century. People say that they have been `cleaned out' when they have lost all their money and valuables, for example through being robbed or cheated.
See also: cleaner, someone, take
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

take someone to the cleaners

1 take all of someone's money or possessions in a dishonest or unfair way. 2 inflict a crushing defeat on someone.
See also: cleaner, someone, take
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

take somebody to the ˈcleaners

(informal)
1 make somebody lose a lot of money, often by cheating them: He’s heavily in debt — his ex-wife took him to the cleaners at the time of their divorce.
2 defeat somebody completely: Our team got taken to the cleaners.
See also: cleaner, somebody, take
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

take someone to the cleaners

1. tv. to take all of someone’s money. The lawyers took the insurance company to the cleaners, but I still didn’t get enough to pay for my losses.
2. tv. to defeat or best someone. Look at the height they’ve got! They’ll take us to the cleaners!
See also: cleaner, someone, take
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

take to the cleaners

Slang
To take all the money or possessions of, especially by outsmarting or swindling.
See also: cleaner, take
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Take them to the cleaners, says our columnist Anna Morrell WHEN the love has gone couples, it seems, look to more reliable sources of comfort and solace - material wealth.