Definition of take someone to the cleaners in US English:

take someone to the cleaners


  • 1Take all someone's money or possessions in a dishonest or unfair way.

    • ‘A bunch of slick, elitist, wingnut hucksters are taking them to the cleaners.’
    • ‘Eight years ago I met and married John, sold my house and bought the home we have now, as John had been taken to the cleaners in an acrimonious divorce.’
    • ‘Marry a woman, or spend a while with her in a de facto relationship, and she can take you to the cleaners if she doesn't get what she wants.’
    • ‘A QC said I could take him to the cleaners for half his fortune, but I wanted to sort it out amicably so I phoned him.’
    • ‘Her drinking accelerated and her accountant took her to the cleaners.’
    • ‘It is perhaps an unintended irony that on the same page that we find ads for cleaners, we find ads for the guys who will take you to the cleaners if you let them.’
    • ‘He may even be afraid that his wife will leave him or take him to the cleaners.’
    • ‘The woman seeks revenge by plotting to marry the attorney and then taking him to the cleaners in their own divorce.’
    hoodwink, hoax, dupe, deceive, trick, fool, make a fool of, mislead, take in, delude, misguide
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Inflict a crushing defeat on someone.
      ‘the Blue Jays went home and were taken to the cleaners by the Red Sox’
      • ‘From there until the interval they took Laois to the cleaners.’
      • ‘Frequently I've felt intimidated, but they're often as nervous as I am, and I rest in the knowledge that I've done my homework, and there is no attempt to take them to the cleaners.’
      • ‘She absolutely took me to the cleaners in a pin trade.’
      • ‘I think this is the Big Apple, and if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, but you better be good or they'll take you to the cleaners.’
      • ‘If one team gets on top of their game and the other team isn't, then they are quite capable of taking them to the cleaners - and that's what happened to us.’
      • ‘I used to play that with my cousins during the holidays and always took them to the cleaners.’
      • ‘In any debate on the EU he will be taken to the cleaners.’
      • ‘I think that they reckoned we had something of a soft underbelly up front but we took them to the cleaners.’
      • ‘A litigious employee could take us to the cleaners.’
      • ‘His wife took him to the cleaners, quite rightly in my view.’
      defeat, beat, best, get the better of, gain the advantage over, prevail over, triumph over, gain a victory over, trounce, rout, thrash, drub, vanquish, conquer, master, overcome, overwhelm, overpower, overthrow, crush, subdue, subjugate
      View synonyms