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1. To become clean by scrubbing with soap and water, especially one's hands and face. I've been out digging in the garden all morning, so I'd like to wash up before we go anywhere tonight. Make sure the kids wash up before dinner.
2. To clean the dishes, utensils, pots, and pans from a meal. You cooked dinner, so I'll wash up! I don't mind washing up, if you'll dry everything with a towel for me.
3. To clean something with soap and water. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "up." I didn't have enough money to pay for my meal, so the restaurant made me stay and wash their dishes up for them instead.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
wash someone or something up
1. to clean up someone or something by washing. Please wash the baby up as long as you are changing the diaper. I'll wash up the baby. Sam will wash himself up before dinner.
2. [for water or the waves] to bring someone or something up onto the shore or beach. Look what the waves washed up! A bottle with a note in it! The waves washed a bottle up.
wash someone up
to terminate someone in something. This error is going to wash you up as an account executive. That washed me up. Problems like this have washed up quite a few careers.
wash up (for something)
to clean [oneself] up for something, such as a meal. Please wash up for dinner. Go and wash up!
Fig. finished. "You're through, Tom," said the manager, "Fired—washed up!" Wilbur is washed up as a bank teller.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Wash one's hands and face, as in It's time to wash up for dinner. [First half of 1900s] Also see clean up, def. 2.
2. Clean the utensils after a meal, as in I'll cook dinner if you promise to wash up. [Mid-1700s] Also see do the dishes.
3. Bring about the end or ruin of; finish. This usage is often used put in the passive, be washed up, as in She's all washed up as a singer. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
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.
1. To carry something ashore by the action of water: The current washed up some cargo from the sunken ship. The tide washed some seaweed up on shore.
2. To be carried ashore by the action of water: This piece of driftwood washed up onto the beach.
3. To wash one's hands: Please wash up before dinner.
4. To wash dishes after a meal: Whose turn is it to wash up?
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.